garden cat and abu ghraib in 3-d!


I’ve written about our cat Scooter. A while back I’d bought myself a Sputnik camera, and old Russian roll-film camera that takes two pictures simultaneously, each of them of the same thing, but with separate lenses spaced about the same distance as a pair of eyes. With a special stereo viewer or by making what’s called an anaglyph you can reconstruct the scene giving you a 3-d effect. When I took the camera outside on the first day I had it Scooter followed me out.

Above and below are a couple anaglyphs made from images shot during that session. If you have a pair of red/cyan 3-d glasses you can see the image in stereo. (A red/greed pair will work as well, though not as well. Clear glasses that use polarized light won’t work for teasing apart the separate images in the anaglyph.) I constructed the anaglyphs in a way that would still make sense to viewers without the 3-d glasses, in a way that features the star of each picture…


As much fun as I had outside with the cat I hadn’t bought the camera to take more wonderful cat pictures. George Bush’s Iraq War was chugging along full steam and the notorious pictures from Abu Ghraib had recently surfaced. The world was pissed after seeing them and so was I. Politics seeps into my art in various ways, most of them subtle, but I started a small serious of pieces addressing the Iraq war. Below is one of those works, a 3-d photomontage combining staged elements along with one of the most infamous war images of recent times. It’s a complex response, combining what might look like humor with a seething rage I still harbor towards a war launched by a man who’s now been responsible for more American deaths than the number of those who died in the September 11 attacks in New York. And that’s only a fraction of those who’ve been killed.

James SOE NYUN: Le Can-Can Abu Ghraib.

Technical Details: The original Abu Ghraib image was gently dissected and reassembled into two slightly different images that were then composited to give a subtle 3-d image. The foreground and stage were mockups that I staged and photographed twice with conventional cameras, moving the tripod to the side about four inches between exposures. The “dancing” figures were photographed using the stereo Sputnik camera. Two separate composite images were completed using Photoshop, one reflecting what the left eye might see, the other what the right eye would see. The left image was then pasted into the red channels of the final image and the right image pasted into the green and blue channels. The final work is printed fairly large, at a scale approaching narrative history paintings.

Google “photoshop” and “anaglyph” for a pile of resources on how to make your own anaglyphs.

2 thoughts on “garden cat and abu ghraib in 3-d!”

  1. Wow…there’s all kinds of coolness here. First of course, there’s more Scooter and in 3-D to boot. I’ll have to dig around and see if I can find my glasses, in some misc. unmarked box somewhere.

    Second, there’s the Sputnik camera, which sounds very cool and takes an interesting image (or pair of them, actually).

    And of course, I share your now-aged (but unmellowed) outrage at George Bush and his cronies for the disservice to our country and the world which has been his two terms in Washington. And I think that your final piece is fascinating…funny and yet so totally not.

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