If You Look At Her Cross-Eyed, She Has Depth

No, really.

I’ve always been interested in taking 3-D pictures, and up until quite recently, the best way to do this was to shoot with a Stereo Realist 35mm camera. The Realist was introduced in the early 1950’s, when the entire country was going 3-D crazy.

The Stereo Realist takes two pictures at the same time with lenses separated about the same distance as your eyes are separated. One captures the left-eye view, the other captures the right eye view. Your brain can put these back together into a 3-D image all by itself.

I picked up a used Realist and dragged it many places, including NYU Film and TV School on the day that Marlo “That Girl” Thomas came to our TV production class as a guest lecturer. “Lecturer In Hot Pants” was the excuse the Daily News gave for running their picture of Marlo in her abbreviated and quite shiny attire. I’ve always preferred my shot.

I had the Realist with me and used the available light in the NYU TV studio to grab a shot. Can you cross your eyes? Are you game to try?

There’s something called “free-viewing” a 3-D image that can allow you to see in three dimensions just by crossing your eyes. The picture of Marlo has the two images swapped: the one for your right eye is on the left, and the one for your left eye is on the right. If you have any skill at all in crossing your eyes, you will be able to resolve Marlo in the center of your field of view in glorious 3-D. For further instructions, look here.

Click on the image to enlarge it, then cross your eyes… then try to ‘fuse’ the images. I picked up the knack years ago, and it’s great to have instant 3-D that doesn’t require glasses of any kind. If it works for you, you’ll find it a pretty compelling effect. Let me know if it did.

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