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The Optics of Science: Early Western Stereographs from The Dr. Martin Bass and Gail Silverman Bass Collection

Fall 2022
Student Gallery

The Optics of Science presents late 19th and early 20th century three-dimensional stereographic cards and supplementary material from the Bass Collection, part of the Ryerson Image Centre’s holdings. The exhibition and accompanying publication focus on representations of Western science and related knowledge at a time of unprecedented and rapid industrial, social, and geographical change. Comprising medical, clinical, anthropological, astronomical, and spirit photographs, the selection highlights the technical and historical intricacies associated with looking at images often entangled with colonial legacies.

Organized by the 2021-2022 second-year students from Ryerson University’s Film + Photography Preservation and Collections Management program.

Fig. 1

Henry Draper (American, 1837–1882), Full Moon, ca. 1870, albumen prints mounted on card (stereograph). Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of Dr. Martin J. Bass and Gail Silverman Bass, 2014

Fig. 2

Unidentified photographer, Royal Bengal Tiger (Felis Tigris) Taking a Bath, Showing Fondness for Water Characteristic of the Animal, 1902, toned gelatin silver prints mounted on card (stereograph). Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of Dr. Martin J. Bass and Gail Silverman Bass, 2014

Fig. 3

Unidentified photographer, The Ghost in the Stereoscope, ca. 1856, albumen prints with applied colour mounted on card (stereograph). Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of Dr. Martin J. Bass and Gail Silverman Bass, 2014

Fig. 4

Eugene S.M. Haines (American, 1833–1909), Extensive Fractures of Skull by a Pistol Ball, from Disease Case Studies, October 12, 1869, albumen prints with colour mounted on card. Ryerson Image Centre, Gift of Dr. Martin J. Bass and Gail Silverman Bass, 2014 (RIC_2014_1691-0002)