A new photography exhibit at the Monroe County Local History Room in Sparta takes visitors on a 3-D journey out West.
The “Wish You Were Here: A 3-D Trip Out West” exhibit showcases 30 stereoview images taken by amateur Sparta photographer Richard “Dick” Melcher while on a road trip to western states in 1955.
The stereoviews, on loan from Lavern Erickson of Sparta, were created using a Stereo Realist camera. The special camera would take two nearly identical pictures that were then developed and mounted side by side in a cardboard sleeve. When observed through a viewer, the brain combines the images and makes them appear in 3-D. Consequently, the illusion gives the viewer a “you are there feeling,” as if you are actually looking through the photographer’s eyes.
Dick Melcher was one of many amateur photographers who used this extraordinary camera to photograph the people, places, and events he found important, while the camera was on the market during the 1950s through 1970s. In the summer of 1955, he embarked on a month-long road trip out West. Armed with his Stereo Realist camera, Dick captured the natural beauty of the places he saw in 3-D.
While the Monroe County Local History Room has had other 3-D exhibits in the past, this one is different in that it takes visitors along for the ride with Dick as he travels from the Badlands of South Dakota, through Yellowstone National Park and the many canyons of Utah and Arizona, before eventually reaching the Pacific Coast. Although these slides were taken over 60 years ago, the 3-D effect one gets when viewing the stereoview slides through the History Room's special viewer, makes the viewer feel like they too are standing on the edge of the Grand Canyon or witnessing the eruption of a Yellowstone geyser.
Stop into the Monroe County Local History Room, located at 200 West Main Street, Sparta, to see the new 3-D photo exhibit. The History Room is open Monday-Saturday, 9-4:30. Free admission. Visit Facebook.com/mclhr or call 608-269-8680 for more information.