When “the war to end all wars” broke out in 1914, amateur photography was still in its infancy. Trench photography was quickly deemed a security risk. In enemy hands, photos could betray the positions, movements and strengths of troops. Certain images could also harm the morale of soldiers or hamper public support for the war. The Canadian War Measures Act, enacted in August 1914, empowered the government to suppress such imagery as needed to protect Canada’s political and public interests.
Since photos from the trenches were rarely published during the First World War, vintage camera collector Chris Hughes knew he had something special when he found a 100-year-old Jules Richard Verascope camera at an antique shop in Niagara Falls, Ont., complete with a set of glass slides from the war.
The stereoscopic camera, with two lenses and a separate frame for each, captures 3D images by simulating binocular vision. Each lens is set at a slightly different angle, so that when the shutter is released, each frame records a unique image. Unfortunately, in order to appreciate the 3D quality of the images, the slides must be viewed through a special stereoscopic viewer, or viewed in duplicate as presented here.