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Looking Backward

A Photographic Portrait of the World at the Beginning of the Twentieth Century


Michael Lesy (Author)

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Haunting views of the early twentieth century’s most significant events flank pictures of the last remnants of the premodern world.

At the turn of the twentieth century, the stereograph was king. Its binocular images revealed the world in vivid, three-dimensional detail. Drawing on an enormous, rarely seen collection of stereographic views, Michael Lesy presents images displaying a riot of peoples and cultures, stark class divisions and unsettling glimpses of daily life a century ago.

Lesy’s evocative essays reassert the primacy of the stereograph in American visual history. In underscoring the unnerving parallels between that period and our own, Looking Backward reveals a history that shadows us today.

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