‘Diableries’ Article Stereoscopic Journal Autumn 2014


Diableries : Talk and 3-D presentation by May, Pellerin and Fleming at The Stereoscopic Society, London, 9th November 2013

A review by Sue Foxford.
Article published in The Stereoscopic Journal Autumn 2014, following Brian’s Diablerie lecture and Dd presentation with Paula Fleming and Denis Pellerin at the Society’s meeting on November 9th 2013.

9th November 2013 Chairman Mike Hillyard

I have been a member of the Society for about 10 years, yet I had never ventured to a meeting, despite meeting other collectors at various other events and through correspondence.

I very much enjoy creating my own stereo photographs, using my FUJI W1 3D camera and Canon DSLR, for sequential shots. I am an avid collector of Victorian Stereoscopy, and my passion lies within the work of William Russell Sedgfield.

When I learned that Brian May, Paula Fleming and Denis Pellerin were to present their latest work of art ‘Diableries’ on Saturday 9th November, how could I resist going along and making it my first meeting.

I did not know quite what to expect, other than being told the members of the Society were ‘a great bunch of experts’ and ‘they give lots of insights and tips which only years of experience can generate and are willing to share’. For the first time visitor to the Society, I have to mention, the hall was very easy to find, Lancing Street, is home to St Pancras Church Hall, opposite Euston Station. The meeting room is situated on the top floor of the building. I arrived slightly early. I was greeted with a warm welcome from Colin Metherell, who I very soon discovered was a member of a folio group that I had taken part in several years earlier. I immediately felt at ease, and was handed a pair of 3D glasses.

Concert Infernal backlit

Concert Infernal
Diableries Tissue Stereo Card – “Concert Infernal” – Backlit collection of Brian May

The first half of the meeting was a selection of 6 short films and slideshows, introduced by Andrew Hurst. Brian, Paula and Denis joined the audience to enjoy the spectacle of various films and slideshows with the members.

LSC tableLSC table
© Sue Foxford The L.S.C. Table

The first film was an amazingly impressive piece of work. “Pieces of the Fair” by Bob Venezia, and was set to music, followed by a 3D music video, “All is not lost” by OK Go, directed by Trish Sie, Pilobolus and OK Go, 3D director Eric Kurland. The video added a fun element and was very well executed.

Work of iconic stereo photographer Pat Whitehouse was next, and we had the pleasure of two phenomenal slide shows. The first, “Focus on Birds”, was an art form in itself. The composition, depth and movement of the birds captured in a moment, whilst set to music, was utterly incredible. A definite must see for any bird lover. The second Pat Whitehouse slideshow was “Adlestrop”, a study of a village. Poignant and moving, the series of views set to poetic verse, Adlestrop, written by Edward Thomas (1878-1917), referring to the railway station, was simply enchanting throughout.

“ATM” was a comedy silent 3D movie by Andrew Murchie. It was about a girl who is desperately longing to buy a cupcake, but had no money. She lured an unsuspecting gent to buy her a cake via the cash point. This put a knowing smile on many faces!

And finally, last but not least, to conclude the first half, “Atmosphere”, a film featuring atmospherics, landscapes, and famous landmarks from around the world by the very talented Ikuo Nakamura.

Next on the agenda was the welcome, refreshments, and chatter, before donning our 3D glasses once more for the main presentation of the day “Diableries Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell”, introduced by Andrew Hurst.

The Diableries team stepped up to the podium. Brian May, musician, author, animal welfare campaigner and photographic historian. Paula Fleming, photographic historian, retired photographic archivist of the Smithsonian Institution, and former member of the board of directors of the National Stereoscopic Association USA, and Dennis Pellerin, dedicated photographic historian who has worked on Diableries for over 25 years, and is currently working on a PhD in stereo-photographic history. We were in for a treat.

Brian introduced his team and began by explaining the concept of the project. The audience was immediately transported to hell and captivated by the phenomena. He explained how these views were first made during the “1860s” in France, the concept of the tissues stereoview, and how the OWL viewer, which was designed by himself, and included with the book, worked.

Paula began by outlining the history of photography, citing Dickens, Sir David Brewster, the style of photography that was happening in Britain at the time, and how French stereo photographer Lefort began to depict scenes from hell, which set the stage for creation of Diableries in France.

Paula and friends

Paula and friends
© Sue Foxford Paula and friends

Brian was first to speak about the various series of Diableries citing Hennetier and Habert, creators, starting with the first view in Series A, and following on through to Series F. Denis interacted with his amazing knowledge of the subject, gained by years of sheer dedication. Through the slideshow the three authors took it in turns to explain the content of the Diableries slides, pointing out the fine details with great enthusiasm, whilst covering the history, satire and political motives behind each composition. They had the audience in the palms of their hands with an in depth knowledge mixed with humour.

The presentation concluded with a question and answer session, which proved very popular, especially with the children in the audience.

Andrew Hurst presented Brian, Paula and Dennis with a stereo card each by Pat Whitehouse as a thank you gift.

Brian, Paula and Denis presented a Diableries book to Keith Webb for the Stereoscopic Society’s library, which was gratefully received. The book was duly signed by all three authors.

More stereoscoping - Andrew  and speakers

Authors and Andrew

© Sue Foxford Andrew and Brian

Brian, Paula & Denis John Wilson

For further info on the Society go to – http://www.stereoscopicsociety.org.uk/