A Viewmaster Disc from the Archive

January 30, 2014

I brought my D800E to the office to photograph the boss' wallets and other ephemera and their contents. The intent is to document everything in situ.

What's inside the wallets, notepads, planners, and envelopes is a collection of mostly mundane things, like YMCA membership cards, phone numbers on scraps of paper, and taxi receipts. But, since these mundane things are from the mid-1970's, around the time Einstein premiered, they could be a part of the story of the creation of that masterpiece. So, into the archive they go, one scan at a time.

Those scans will exist as discreet and separate digital files, which decouples the paper object from its source. Photos of the "before" state of this processing will help give future researchers and collectors context for things as they were found.

Also in the boxes I've been sorting through were two passports and a ViewMaster. In the ViewMaster was disc of stereoscopic images from the 1976 run of Einstein in Avignon, shot by photographer Peggy Weil. It took me a minute to figure out how I was going to acquire some representation of the images on the disc. Then I realized I could just hold it up to the light.

Antiques Roadshow aired a segment this week on a man who found Marvin Gaye's 1964 passport in a record sleeve at a yard sale. The record was bought for $.50, the value of the passport was estimated at $20,000. Reading that made me be sure to take care noting the storage location of the ones I had in front of me.


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