Photography and Early Travellers to Egypt
I have a long standing interest in photography and archaeological illustration and during the late 1990s became interested in the use of stereoscopic (3D) photography in archaeology.
I have experimented with 3D photography on my excavations at Amarna and Memphis and to a more limited extent in the North Ibis Catacomb at Saqqara. The results from these trials, using 35mm transparency film, have been very good and I am currently experimenting with 3D digital images. HISAR owns its own digital 3D camera rig and projection equipment, and one of our laboratory is equipped for viewing 3D lectures and research materials.
Stereoscopic photography, however, is not new. It was widely used during the Victorian era until around the end of the First World War, and then enjoyed a resurgence during the 1940s and 1950s. During the late 19th and early 20th century many millions of stereoscopic view cards were produced on a whole range of subjects and covering many different countries. Amongst these were views of Egypt, some taken by Francis Frith, one of the finest Victorian travel photographers. These show many of the Egyptian monuments as they were shortly after their discovery.
Later photographers included the Underwood brothers, who produced two ‘boxed sets’ of 100 views of Egypt. The earliest of these, made in the 1890s shows the monuments at the point of change, as mass tourism begins to impinge upon them. The views also give an excellent flavour of the a more adventurous age of travel and tourism.
Examining these stereoscopic views (stereographs) ties in well with my interest in early travellers and the development of archaeology and like other aspects of my research is something which I have been able to develop in my teaching.
Relevant publications – Book chapters
2009 Nicholson, P.T.
| Egyptology for the masses: James Henry Breasted and the Underwood Brothers. In D. Magee, J.D. Bourriau and S. Quirke (Eds.) Sitting Beside Lepsius: Studies in Honour of Jaromir Malek. Leiden: Peeters,381-422.
Relevant publiations – Papers
2000 Nicholson, P.T.
| Bert Underwood at work? Journal of 3D Imaging 150, 8-11.