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- Posted on Jul 23rd 2010 12:00PM by David Chiu
"This village and this whole series of photographs were very nearly lost to the world," May told a seated audience. "[It was] very, very hard to find these particular stereo cards. It's a thrill to me to be able to brought them to the 21st century."
Williams (1824-1871) is regarded as one of the pioneers in stereoscopy, whose process, as May and co-author Elena Vidal wrote in the book, is "to take two photographs of the same scene, one from the position of each eye." When looked through a stereoscope, the photographs appear as one 3-D image. (A special stereoscope is packaged with the book).
"I felt drawn to Williams as an artist, perceiving an uncanny parallel between his world, balanced on that fine line between 'art for art's sake' and art for an audience, and my own world, in rock music," May wrote in the preface to 'A Village Lost and Found.'
Audience members at the bookstore were given 3-D glasses and saw some of Williams' photographs projected on a screen while co-author Vidal provided background commentary. The photographs showed such scenes as a rectory, a ferry and workers. May also read some verses that were on the reverse side of the stereo cards related to the subject matter.
"Thomas Richard Williams couldn't rest because he had something in his mind, which he had to get out," May said to the audience. "It was the theme about his childhood, so he returned sometime around the beginning of the 1850s and started to chronicle a village, not just the bricks and mortar of the village, but the people in it.
"By [means] of the poems in the back, he was able to put a lot of information in there in addition, which really portrays the way he feels about his village," May added. "He talks about the people, he talks about their dreams [and] their hopes, their relationships with each other. It's a really very profound portrait."
Afterwards, May answered questions from the audience and later signed copies of the book with Vidal. May and Vidal will continue their talk about stereo photography with an appearance at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art Friday evening.