The beautiful nude stereo daguerreotypes in the collection of W. + T. Bosshard can now be viewed in the book ‘History of Nudes in Stereo Daguerreotypes’. The book has been written by Denis Pellerin who spent countless hours researching in Paris archives and describes the stories of many of the models in the images and their photographers.
No longer are they nameless women posing for an unknown photographer; Denis explains many of their (often sad and tragic) stories after he rediscovered their details in a police register. Through his incredible and thorough research he left no stone unturned to bring them back to life, adding depth to their depth, which left me quite emotional at times when you see their detailed faces staring back at you in stereoscopic 3-D as you read about their predicaments. I often hear general assumptions in academic talks made about these women and it is definitely unfair to them, I urge you to read this book before parroting incorrect information. These beautifully powder-tinted daguerreotypes are truly a reflection on society, both in the 1850-60s when they were made and modern day. It’s powerful reading and once you start the book it’s difficult to put down because you feel you know these people, they are very relatable and you want to learn more. Denis also uses his expertise and experience to identify several of the photographers involved and writes about their own background stories, which are just as riveting as the models.
The hardback book itself is beautiful, with high-quality gloss printing of the images, a Lite OWL stereoscope and a microfibre cloth (printed with an image of a daguerreotype) for cleaning the lenses and the glossy images. You can experience the beauty of the stereo daguerreotypes without worrying about reflections; my only wish would be that the enlarged single images were at a higher resolution, which daguerreotypes allow for.
You can find an excellent, in-depth review of the book by Jerilyn Marshall, MA, MLS, (Research Services Librarian, Retired) on Carl Mautz’ website.
For the first time Denis’ work has been published in three languages: English, German and French:
- The English version is listed on Amazon.de but is frequently unavailable. Thanks to André for letting me know that some are also available on eBay from a private seller (Frederic Hoch) in France: link here. It can also be ordered in the USA direct from a distributer, please see Carl Mautz’s website, many thanks to Linda for letting me know and sending the link.
- The German version (Geschichte der Aktfotografie in Stereo-Daguerreotypien) is listed on Amazon.de and is also frequently unavailable. It has also been listed on Lindemanns.de.
- The French edition (Le Nu Stéréoscopique Les modèles et leur histoire), published by La Maison de la Photo, Saint-Bonnet de Mure, near Lyon, can be ordered from firstname.lastname@example.org. Details can be found on their website page. Thanks to André for letting me know that some are also available on eBay from a private seller (Frederic Hoch) in France: link here.
- In Austria the French version is available from Falter.
To celebrate the release of the book the New York Stereoscopic Association hosted Denis as part of their weekly ‘NYSA Presents’ Zoom meeting on 24th October 2020. Denis gave a presentation, had a discussion with John Zelenka and then everyone was invited to join a Q&A. Everyone was so fascinated that the Zoom meeting went on for a lot longer than usual. You can find the shortened YouTube video of this event here (age verification required).
Several of the images in this post have been reproduced with kind permission from Denis Pellerin and edited for family-viewing.
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