4th International Conference on Stereo & Immersive Media — Photography, Sound and Cinema Research
Lusofona University, Lisbon, 17—19 June 2021

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Photo credit: Centenary olive tree, by Carlos Relvas, 1873.
Stereoscopic albumen print. Casa dos Patudos - Museu de Alpiarça Collection

‘The not-so-veiled charms of stereo photography’

We are pleased to reveal the title, blurb and a charming stereoscopic daguerreotype of Denis Pellerin’s keynote presentation at S&I Media 2020, next June.

Nude photographs in general and stereoscopic daguerreotypes in particular are very popular among collectors. These images, usually beautifully made and very nicely tinted, are greatly enhanced by the sensation of depth the stereoscope provides. The viewers could imagine themselves very close to those voluptuous ladies and so great was the illusion that it only stopped short of actually being able to touch them. But who among those who enjoy those images knows the real story behind this artistic — and occasionally pornographic — production? Most exclusively made in France in the 1850s and 1860s these daguerreotypes may have cost the buyers a small fortune but they certainly cost the majority of the photographers who took them and the models who sat for them their freedom and more often than not their reputation.

Photo historian Denis Pellerin reveals some of the sad tales behind the mirror-like surfaces of these outstanding daguerreotypes. Much more than mere flesh, the persons who undressed in front of the camera were young women who were dreaming of a better life and did not always realise there was a huge price to pay for the easy money they were earning by flaunting their veil-less charms.

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