1. The Stereoscope: An Introduction

 

 

The account of the invention of the stereoscope, reproduced opposite, is exerted from an article printed in The Illustrated London News.

It begins by commenting on the blase reactions to new socio-scientific discoveries of a public weaned on the rapid advances of the industrial revolution. But the wonderment of its anonymous author at the optical devices under discussion suggests that such attitudes may not have been all-encompassing.

The article also emphasises the need for tangible proofs in an age increasingly propelled by types of empiricism. But empiricism is not the all-embracing epistemology of the day, the author looks  back to a time ruled by what, seen from his perspective, amounts to witchcraft and superstition; and forward to an age where scientific quests might not be held back by the burden of proof. There is a suggestion that the 1850s might be caught in a shift between two types of logic. Later, in the photography pages of this site, the proposition of a doubling between a type of romantic, or artistic position - the will to change a given reality - interacts with a scientific position - an equal will for there to be a type of truth which is beyond any subjective control. It will be argued that this is the defining feature of both photography and the thought processes of modernity.