The View-Master is a beloved toy, well-known to many. However, most people are unaware of the View-Master Personal Stereo system for creating one’s own View-Master Personal Reels – an unusual combination of vernacular imagery and three-dimensional photography. Unfortunately, little has been written about this system, and the institutional collections of Personal Reels are limited.
This thesis describes the View-Master Personal Stereo system and establishes its place in the combined history of both amateur and stereoscopic photography. It reviews the history of View-Master and amateur stereoscopic systems, examines the View-Master cameras and accessories, follows the decline of mid-century amateur stereoscopic photography, and discusses users and collectors of the system.
The result is a compilation of information that both defines the View-Master Personal Stereo system and constitutes an argument that the View-Master Personal Reels have a place in institutional collections of vernacular photography.