My work as a webmaster introduced me to Adobe Photoshop, which, in recent years has become a remarkable computer program allowing an artist near-total control over the image. Photoshop could do everything I had been trying to do in the darkroom in the 1970s with my smelly mineral spirits and pigments. And more. In real time.
Then, for Christmas 1998, my wife, who couldn't help but notice the money I was spending collecting antique stereographs and View-Master reels, gave me a stereo camera. It was a lifesaver. It was the path out of a mid-life crisis for a 50 year old artist stuck in a businessman's body. Her gift was a 3D Trio, a point and shoot, auto-flash, autowind three-lenser. It fit in my brief case and I began shooting my visions again.
By great coincidence, the National Stereographic Association held its 25th anniversary meeting in July 1999 in Green Bay, just a few hours north of Chicago. I drove up there, took a small room in a motel right on the bay, and met David Lee, Bill Lee, and George Freeman at the conference. I fell in love with their work, bought a bunch of it, and I was inspired to get back on track.
The stereo image below, "Rebirth", was shot with the 3D Trio and completed in Photoshop. Cross your eyes and look at the center of the image and the figure will float off the screen. I am now making stereo images with a 1947 Stereo Realist (at right).
Later in 1999 I bought two digital cameras, an Olympus 2020Z, and a Nikon 990. I left Beverage Testing Institute, built a studio, and I have begun to use my inventory of visual phrases to form sentences, combining 2D and stereography and spinography to make prints, interactive images on the web, pictories, and even books.
Then, in Y2K I took a class from John Paul Caponigro, a contemporary artist who carries the mantle of Jerry Uelsmann. He helped me make the image at the top of the page, and his work inspired me and propelled me to return to my roots. The rest , to twist a phrase, is future history. See you there...
Rebirth, 1999 Stereograph