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The Silver Eye : Jacques Revon : Stereoscopic photography


Here is the second part of the silver adventures of Jacques Revon.

After my discovery of the famous “Blue Label” blank glass plates, this time I found, a few months ago, a box of blank and stereoscopic photographic glass plates format 6X13 of Holy Light, also manufactured more than a century ago. This original box was still tightly closed.

© Jacques Revon

So for the second time I renewed my first experience, that of exhibiting for silver history, these few plates, this time with an old “monobloc” stereo camera manufactured by Ch. Broutin Paris.

© Jacques Revon


This camera had belonged more than a hundred years ago, in 1915, to my maternal grandfather who was also a photography enthusiast. These very old blank plates, still well enveloped and protected in black paper, were glued emulsion against emulsion and without marks, so it was not easy in the dark to place the sensitive part in the right direction on the metal supports then placed in the frame of the device. To recharge the chassis outdoors, you absolutely need a recharging “bag” called “in broad daylight” and there, it’s yet another story this time of blind sleight of hand!

Formerly, this camera was not designed to photograph with long exposure, and the focus on the subject is rather approximate. To get a result on a plate, I had to be tricky to expose them correctly. Each plate having lost its sensitivity after very  long conservation.

To make a success of this experiment and after the two first attempts, I decided to carry out successive shutter releases and superimposed on one second, (what an idea!) To obtain in the end, 25 seconds of exposure, that is to say 25 times!.

I specify it here, in sunny weather and hoping not to move too much when pressing the small trigger. After processing, these images have become, you see, somewhat surreal…

It also happens that the very very old emulsion tired by the very long conservation, peels off when washed and says goodbye! So, the only solution to save the image, was to dry the plate as soon as possible. This rather curious chemical transformation here appears pictorial and undoubtedly makes us reflect somewhat on the photographs taken by our elders in past decades and what these images can still tell us today.

One can also note in these stereoscopic photographs a certain obvious anachronism, between the content of each of these images and the time when the plate itself was manufactured more than a hundred years ago, without forgetting the nature of the emulsion which resisted again in time.


Jacques Revon
Daix, March 11, 2023.

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