Looking Backward: A Photographic Portrait Of The World...
At the turn of the twentieth century the stereograph was king. Its binocular images revealed the world in vivid, three-dimensional detail. Generations of Americans, especially schoolchildren, absorbed ideas about race, class, and gender from such 3D images. Drawing on an enormous, rarely seen collection of stereographic views, Michael Lesy presents nearly 250 images displaying a riot of peoples and cultures, stark class divisions, and unsettling glimpses of daily life a century ago. Haunting views of the early twentieth century’s most significant events—war, rebellion, and natural catastrophe—flank pictures of the last remnants of the premodern natural world. Lesy’s evocative essays reassert the primacy of the stereograph in American visual history. He profiles the photographers who saw the world through their prejudices and the companies that sold their images everywhere. In underscoring the unnerving parallels between that period and our own, Looking Backward reveals a history that shadows us today.