What is nostalgia but a longing for the past? What is longing but a connection?
In my work the tool is as important as the final image. I use exclusively vintage consumer cameras ranging from the late forties to the early sixties, including a Tower Stereo and Stereo Realist. Stereo photography historically post 1940 was the realm of the hobbyist, a dad perhaps on a family vacation, an older couple traveling Europe, even perhaps a cheesecake photographer persuading a lovely model to pose. Shooting with these cameras creates a connection I couldn’t otherwise, by eschewing clinical precision in favor of memory. Neither is perfectly sharp but both can evoke strong responses. In 1976 Hilton Kramer reviewed Eggleston’s first solo show of color prints at the Museum of Modern Art for the New York times as “…perfectly banal, perhaps. Perfectly boring, certainly.” Color photography was perceived by many, like stereo photography, pedestrian fodder with no place in a proper museum. Why not? I would argue it’s evidence of an opportunity to reconsider the merit of a technique dismissed as consumer trifle or cheap parlor trick. Stereo photography is nothing more than another composition technique to communicate with our audience? In addition to color now depth.
I find stereo images as interesting side by side hanging on a wall as I do through a viewer. The first is passive and often clinical. Minor nuances between the positions of subject matter can be noted. Seen together both images create a different frame composition entirely than the one in the viewer. On one level there is the appeal of the basic physics of a three dimensional image, when those images are combined into one three dimensional illusion we are involved in an entirely different experience with the image. The more we are immersed, the more real the perception. But it is still an illusion and as intangible as nostalgia.
Eva Crawford – 2016