George Washington Wilson – another labour of love


Ah ! I forgot ! We did a vid to introduce GWW and this book to the world.

Brian May unwraps “George Washington Wilson” 3-D Book 15/08/2018

Hello Folks.

I’m here to tell you about another labour of love, which we’re about to launch on the world and very proud of this. This is a book written by Roger Taylor. Not the Roger Taylor that perhaps you associate with me – the excellent drummer of this Queen group. No, this is Professor Roger Taylor of De Montfort University who has been a wonderful supportive friend to me for many many years actually since 1984. He’s been my mentor in photography and more than 30 years ago he wrote this amazing book on the subject of the photographs of George Washington Wilson.

Who is George Washington Wilson? He is one of the absolute foremost photographers of the 1850s and 60s period stereoscopic photographer – landscape photographer in 3-D. He’s Scottish and his work centres around the landscapes of Scotland but he actually travels much further afield and he’s a very experimental practitioner as well.

This is the book. It took a long time to come. Professor Roger Taylor wrote this book a long time ago but the publishing was interrupted by the publishing company going bankrupt and so it never came out in the way that he had hoped. It came out actually without any stereo pictures in it except one, which is very sad.

This feature on the front epitomises in some way George Washington’s work. It’s very beautiful. it’s very much propagating an idea of being in awe of your surroundings.

And we were able to republish. This is a dream of mine. I wanted to republish the text that Roger wrote all those years ago in a form where it was really enjoyable to the public. To me this will promote George Washington’s Wilson’s work from the 1860s to a new audience and hopefully they will thrill in the same way as the Victorians did to his amazing vision of what was around him.

I’m gonna unwrap this book. Unwrap this book now….

There ya go.

If you can see this comes with a little belly band here, which we can take off. This is just, – it’s just taking too long … but I’m enjoying myself.

This says “Scotland’s greatest stereo photographer”. Probably the case. And here we are. We’ll open it up and this book doesn’t have a slip case. Most of our books have been in a slip case with the OWL enclosed. This one is more portable, if you like, and instead of the large OWL, which is demountable, In the back of the book back, of this book, we have the Lite OWL, which actually performs optically very very well and makes things a little bit more accessible as regards getting the thing out there to the public. So we’re hoping this new format will work. It also means the book can be a little bit cheaper, so it’s again a little bit more accessible to more people. That’s my hope. …

The whole text describes George Washington Wilson’s journey through life and his discovery of stereoscopic photography and it describes the way within which he kind of got hooked on being a stereo photographer rather than a flat landscape photographer. He innovated. He was a technician as well as an artist and he discovered that if he took pictures into the light as opposed to with the light behind you. which was the way that was prescribed at the time, he discovered he could get beautiful lighting effects and particularly he could get the sky … [he] could get the clouds in his pictures that had been very difficult up to this time. So this particular photograph here , which is what you see in the front of the cover, was one of the achievements which made him a national treasure and he was very much appreciated in his day.

Queen Victoria herself engaged him to be an official [photographer] and you will see some features of Queen Victoria in this book.

We published these books and I get a lot of lovely feedback from them these days.

You can read the book normally and you can look at some flat pictures if you like. There’s lots of history here to absorb but once you get into it with your OWL viewer the whole thing transforms and you’re looking exactly as your counterpart in Victorian times would have looked at these pictures and suddenly it’s as if you could walk into them you could experience that beautiful scene on the water. You could feel the wind in your face. You could talk to these people. That’s the feeling you get and that’s what’s riveted me from the beginning with stereo photography.

So each one of these stereo pairs will spring to life in this viewer as you go through the book.

I’ve probably said enough. I hope you thought your interest is piqued I hope from lots of people will get pleasure from this book. It’s a glimpse into life in the 1860s in Scotland and in England. He travelled quite far in the British Isles but it’s also a glimpse into an artist’s mind – an artist who was trying to make a point – and to me this is what fascinates me. What…. where is the place where an artist operates? Does he operate very privately just for his own satisfaction? Does he operate very commercially just for other people’s satisfaction and to make him money? I think this man sat right on the borderline/ I think he did art for its own sake but it was art which made a lot of people very happy and gave them a particularly rich vision of the world around them this is the new book we’re launching now.

We will be coming, Roger and myself and Denis, who will do the projection, to Aberdeen and to Edinburgh in the next few days we hope to see you and we hope you’ll enjoy this particularly beautiful book of which I’m very proud.