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The Centennial. General view from George's Hill showing camp of West Point cadets

The Centennial. General view from George's Hill showing camp of West Point cadets

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Stereograph showing view over the fairgrounds, including a crowd watching exercises of the West Point cadets.

"The first effect of looking at a good photograph through the stereoscope is a surprise such as no painting ever produced. The mind feels its way into the very depths of the picture. The scraggy branches of a tree in the foreground run out at us as if they would scratch our eyes out. The elbow of a figure stands forth as to make us almost uncomfortable." Oliver Wendell Holmes, an affordable stereo viewer inventor for the American market. Atlantic Monthly, June 1859.

The United States Military Academy, also known as West Point sits on scenic high ground overlooking the Hudson River, 50 miles north of New York City. The Academy traces its roots to 1801, when President Thomas Jefferson directed that plans be set in motion to establish the United States Military Academy. The entire central campus is a national landmark and home to scores of historic sites, buildings, and monuments.

Stereographs are devices capable of building a three-dimensional​ image out of two photographs that have about two and a half inches difference between them so that it could imitate the two eyes’ real field of view. Combining these images into a single one with the help of stereoscope, a person can experience the illusion of the image’s depth. Stereoscope uses the same principle as in human binocular vision. Our eyes are separated by about two inches, so we see everything from two different angles. When the brain combined those views in a single picture, we get the spatial depth and dimension. Stereographs were extremely popular between 1850 and 1930 all around the world. Millions of stereographs were made during that time. There was a broad range of themes: landscape, travel, historical moments, nature disasters, architecture and many others. Nowadays, simply launch this collection full screen and put your mobile device in Google Cardboard Viewer.





Barker, George, 1844-1894, photographer




Library of Congress

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