MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Northern Michigan University’s Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center is presenting “UP3D”, a very unique collection of three-dimensional photographs from the late 19th century. All 60 of the photographs on display were taken in communities and locations across the U.P. from the 1860’s to the turn of the last century by some of the region’s best-known photographers at the time. The photographs are on loan from the collection of noted photographer and historian, Jack Deo.  

“So, then 1860’s and 1870’s the boom of stereo started to happen and really right till the turn of the century,” said Deo. “Then it died out and kind of came back in the 30’s with view-masters.”

The photos were all shot with special three-dimensional cameras featuring stereo lenses. Many cameras of that type, from that era, are also on display, along with the viewers necessary for seeing the 3D effect. Many of us are familiar with 3D images of this type because we peered into a view-master as kids. The exhibit also contains several early versions of view-masters.

Deo’s collection features images of mining and other industries, cityscapes, Native Americans, nature, along with everyday life in the U.P. 3D photography became wildly popular soon after the advent of photography itself, and by the 1860’s it was used to showcase the rugged beauty of the Upper Peninsula, commonly sold as souvenirs as well as a way to promote local industry and tourism.

“Sometimes you have to stand there a little bit and let it kick into view,” said Deo. “Sometimes you move to the side and suddenly you see it. Everyone we picked has a good 3D image that should really make your jaw drop.”

To the naked eye, the photos appear blurry, but don a pair of 3D glasses and the images come alive, jumping out of the frame and appear real enough to reach out and touch. All of the photos, or stereographs in this exhibit are what are known as anaglyphs. An anaglyph is an image composed of two different colored layers that are offset respective to one another, creating a depth effect.

“What it really is, is a window into a different era from a perspective never seen before,” said Dan Truckey, Director/Curator, Beaumier U.P. Heritage Center. “Alot of people don’t know about. It really brings to life these scenes we have.”

The exhibit runs through August. Admission is free and special 3D glasses are provided.