: our concern addressed to Jacques Henri Lartigue, 1928

Rebecca Gayle Howell

How dare you. A boy with a camera bigger than your own head; a step ladder to the ground glass.

A grown man who saw in 3-D. There was a war on, for God’s sake. Then, another. And you, inconsiderate,

with your pictures of dogs, leaping; women leaping with dogs running; men, women, and children

(and dogs) swimming like it is their job. Happiness, like it is our job. There — in the middle of that fifth

or sixth or seventh war, undeclared, for which my country came to save your country

in another and inculpable country — your thrilled years shown to us, first at the MOMA then in Life.

Fast and overexposed. How does form mimic content; content, form? How does an observer become

the image observed? I don’t know. Years, I suppose. You worked on glass, tens of thousands of glass stereos,

the aspect so big you could make anyone believe. Two — of everything you saw. “A typical stereoscope

provides each eye with a lens that makes the image seen through it appear larger and more distant

and also shifts its apparent horizontal position, so that for a person with normal binocular depth perception

the edges of the two images fuse into one ‘stereo window.’ In current practice, the images are prepared

so that the scene appears to be beyond this virtual window, through which objects are sometimes allowed

to protrude, but this was not always the custom.” I stole that language from Wikipedia. You don’t know

what that is, but I bet you’d have liked it. Think: A Diary of Another Century. Think: A Daguerre Diorama

on a 13” screen. The whole world, both audience and figurine.


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