1904 Seoul Through Stereophotograph
Title 1904 Seoul Through Stereophotograph
Period 2018-02-23 ~ 2018-04-08
Location Special Exhibition Hall B, Seoul Museum of History
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1904 Seoul Through Stereophotograph

1904 Seoul Through Stereophotograph


The stereophotographs with the scenes of Korea were mostly produced around 1904 in the United States, Australia, and Japan. Seoul around this time featured Hanyangdoseong from afar and maintained a traditional landscape filled with straw- and tile-roofed houses, both inside and outside of the fortress. However, the inside was also home to many byproducts of various reforms and modernization policies promoted by King Gojong after the proclamation of the Korean Empire, depicted in a dramatic scene of a trolley car passing through an antique fortress gate.


“Seoul showed a dramatic contrast between past and present, Asia's uniquely raw appearances and international changes."

- Siegfried Genthe Korea–Travel Sketch -


In this exhibit, photos for which the filming locations have been confirmed were placed on a map of 1902 for people to see, and stereoscopic lens cases cover the photos to allow viewing of stereophotographs the way the people did at the time.


A stereophotograph is a type of photo manufactured by utilizing the perspective recognized by our brain due to the gap between the eyes. By placing two photos, which were taken 6.5 to 7cm apart from each other, side by side, each eye views the corresponding image for a three-dimensional effect.

The stereoscope, first introduced at the International Exhibition in London in 1851, instantly captivated the public and from the 1860s to the 1890s the Western world experienced a stereogram craze. Along with the development of technology, mass production began to take place and the subsequent great commercial success led to the establishment of large stereophotograph manufacturers and induced production of stereophotographs with diverse subjects and topics.

Amidst this trend, stereophotographs of Korea were produced around the time of the Russo-Japanese War.


Some of the stereophotographs with descriptions on the back were selected and enlarged for display, to enable viewing of Seoul's landscape and lives of the people at the time, and to read the descriptions written by foreigners on the back of the photos. Though there are errors in these descriptions, the original, unrevised contents are exhibited to reflect the unfiltered viewpoints.


To present an opportunity to meet 1904 Seoul in large-scale 3D, the stereophotographs are converted by the anaglyph method to allow enjoyment through red-blue glasses. Moreover, the videos of Seoul filmed in 1912 will also be provided on a large screen.

※ Anaglyph method: Also known as red-blue method, it uses parallax to form the scene viewed through a person's left and right eyes into red and blue colors, respectively, which are then overlapped and projected onto a screen. When looking through a pair of red-blue glasses, the red filter hides the red image and only shows the blue image while the blue filter hides the blue but shows the red, giving a three-dimensional feeling.


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