The Bill Douglas Memorial Lecture
The great 3D scandal: how stereoscopy got written out of history
Anniversary Professor of Film and Media History, Birkbeck College, University of London
On 28th September we were delighted to welcome Professor Ian Christie, long one of the UK's most renowned film writers and historians, to give our first annual memorial lecture, which this year marked the 25th anniversary of the death of Bill Douglas, filmmaker and collector, who gives his name to our museum.
Ian's talk focused on one of the themes within our amazing collection of moving image artefacts, 3-D and stereoscopy. We welcomed over 70 people to a packed room to hear Ian's argument that "Stereoscopic images played a vital part in popularising photography, long before the Kodak revolution launched snapshots. Queen Victoria was an enthusiast and Muybridge made his fortune with stereo images. Yet its centrality to the 19th century vision revolution is largely forgotten today. How has it come to be regarded as a mere curiosity or gimmick; and what can we do to recover the lost culture of stereoscopy in the digital era?"
Ian explained how steroscopy was the most popular form of photography for a period in the mid 19th century and how it is influential on many of the new technological innovations of our own time.
Visitors had a chance to look at the stereoscopes and slides in our collection and understand how they immersed the viewer in an intense, intimate experience of other places and events far removed from their living rooms.
Thanks so much to Ian for his lecture and we plan this to be an annual event. Watch this space for announcements on a series of events next spring to mark the 20th anniversary of the opening of the museum.
Ian Christie is a film and media historian who has written on many aspects of moving image history including early cinema, Russian cinema and the films of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. His study of David Lean's Doctor Zhivagoi has just been published in the BFI Film Classics series and his website is www.ianchristie.org . He has become fascinated by stereoscopy and its controversial reputation. He will be drawing attention to some of the riches of the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum collection to illustrate this lecture.
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