Clients posing with Thomas J. Nevin’s big box tabletop stereoscopic viewer

When this young woman presented herself at Thomas J. Nevin’s studio, 140 Elizabeth St. Hobart Town (Tasmania) in the early 1870s for her portrait, he posed her standing next to his big box tabletop stereoscopic viewer, her right side to camera. For good measure, he placed the vase in the shape of a hand holding a cornucopia on top of the stereo viewer – an ornament which appears in some of his other portraits of women – and lightly tinted the flowers on printing the photograph, probably in the hope of brightening the scene otherwise made sombre by this young woman’s deflected, melancholy gaze. … More Clients posing with Thomas J. Nevin’s big box tabletop stereoscopic viewer

Posing with a stereoscopic viewer

Clients of early photographers were not the only ones to pose with the photographer’s own stereoscope(s). Two extant cartes-de-visite self-portraits by Thomas J. Nevin from The Nevin Family Collections captured his treasured stereoscopes, one with him holding a small viewer, possibly a Brewster, ca. 1868, and another with him standing next his large table-top stereoscopic viewer, possibly a Beckers (ca 1875). … More Posing with a stereoscopic viewer

T. J. Nevin’s big tabletop stereograph viewer

Although this image is faint – it is a scan of a print pasted into the scrapbook of his son George Ernest Nevin (1880-1957) which is held by Thomas and Elizabeth Nevin’s descendants in the Shelverton family – it shows clearly enough that George’s father, photographer Thomas J. Nevin, was rather fond of his big box table top stereograph viewer. It provided clientele with a ready amusement, a novel experience of 3D. The Victorian fascination with this “advanced” photography is quite understandable. Viewing a static stereograph, three images can be seen, not just one: the central image appears in deep perspective, with the image split into halves on either side. A double lens stereograph viewer of this size could hold a large number of stereograph cards; turning the wooden handle changed the card being viewed, providing a motion picture effect. In Nevin’s self-portrait – not a selfie in the strict sense, of course, taken probably by his younger brother Jack Nevin – a frame holder on top is propped up. In the two portraits below, the holder is flat. An earlier portrait of Thomas Nevin, taken ca. 1868, shows him wearing white gloves, posing with a smaller portable stereoscopic viewer, similar in size to a stereoscope camera. … More T. J. Nevin’s big tabletop stereograph viewer