Personal Space: Stereoscopic Nevada, ACT II

By Bryan McCormick

Personal Space: Stereoscopic Nevada has been installed for a month now at the Nevada Humanities Program Gallery in Las Vegas. The exhibition has been a great success with over 450 guests having come through. But the most satisfying part of it has been the high level of engagement. When people chose to hang out, they spent a minimum of 15 minutes and sometimes hours poring over the views and devices. The historical artifacts have really hit home for people, connecting them to Nevada’s early days in a visceral way. 

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The View-Master section of the exhibition has been really popular, being the first showcase that people make a beeline for. They tend to immediately pick out the View-Master from their own childhood. But they are pleasantly surprised to see that this part of the state, from Boulder Dam through to the Las Vegas Strip, has endured in View-Master form from the 1930s through to contemporary times. We have loved watching people’s faces light up when viewing the reels from the 1950s and 1960s.

The emphasis for the second month of the exhibition transitions from Nevada history and vintage stereoviews to the new images we have created to the exhibition. But don’t worry, none of the historical portions of the exhibition are going away; it will remain up until May 29. 

People will be excited to see the new work that we have put together. The plan now is to have more of a practical demonstration of the tools and the methods for making stereo images on Preview Thursday on May 2, 2019. 

Samantha Forbes will be speaking at this event about her experience taking and making stereoviews in View-Master and Stereo Realist formats. There is plenty to talk about as creating the new work involved many tools, cameras, film types, and processes that are long out of practice. When we made the decision to do the practical part of the exhibition, we adhered to using traditional analog film and the original equipment that people used in the mid 1950s. As we learned the cameras were finicky and unlike anything you’d typically expect from vintage photographic equipment. The assembly processes used cutters and inserters and reels and mounts that we’d never even heard of before. As a result, we had to do a lot of research and develop our own methods and processes combined with seat-of-the-pants trial and error. 

In many ways we felt we knew we were working with tools that were very near the end of useful life—last chance to shoot and play with these devices. But we were charmed too. Samantha and I realized as I was writing this blog that we’ve only just glimpsed the tip of a very large iceberg. The exhibition is in many ways the first of many steps we will be taking in exploring this medium. We look forward to telling you all about it. 


Bryan has been a photographer since the age of 14 and was trained as an art historian, with an emphasis on surrealism, dada, and photography. He has produced a number of exhibitions in Las Vegas centered on signage and was one of the founders of the Vegas Vernacular Project. Past shows included Vegas Vernacular at Amanda Harris Gallery, Trifecta, and The Beat, Falling Angel at Trifecta Gallery, and Galaxy Foam at Tasty Space. Bryan’s current exhibition, Personal Space: Stereoscopic Nevada, is on display at the Nevada Humanities Program Gallery in Las Vegas through May 29, 2019. On Preview Thursday (May 2, 2019 from 6 – 9, pm) at the Program Gallery, Samantha Forbes and Bryan McCormick will be demonstrating and
discussing the making of stereo images in various forms, showcasing the images they created for the Personal Space; Stereoscopic Nevada exhibition.


Images/Bryan McCormick