Hugo de Wijs
3-D Photographer, Entrepreneur, and Master Craftsman of 3-D Viewers,
3-D Projectors and 3-D Macro Lenses
8/24/1933 to 4/4/2015
82 years old
Hugo de wijs:
'Wie niet waagt, wie niet wint!', literally: 'Who doesn't dare, doesn't win', or in short: 'No guts, no glory'. That was the motto Hugo lived by.
Inspired by his ingenuity, creativity, entre-preneurship and a lot of perseverance Hugo took risks in many moments of his life. He stood open for new ideas and by experimen-ting and some professional advice he tried to execute them. However crazy or difficult they might seem. Sometimes even against the laws of physics, like his steady faith in the perpetuum mobile that he made up.
Hugo was born on August 24th 1933 during the crisis. During the war the family lived close to the military airport Soesterberg that took heavy bombardments in 1942.
Life was hard in those years and he had to do his bit helping on the land, and chopping wood after school, but Hugo did not mind. After the war the family moved to a country house where, stimulated by their father, there was lots of room for Hugo and his brother to experiment with all kinds of mechanical contraptions, motors, etc.
As a young adult, in the fifties, Hugo wanted to see more of the world. He made many journeys on moped and motorbike through Europe, the Middle East, Northern Africa (photo Morocco), and the USA (photo USA) following his childhood dream of becoming a famous explorer. Batavus, a Dutch manufacturer of mopeds, noted Hugo's first journeys and especially that he drove one of their mopeds. As a publicity stunt the company requested him to make more journeys to promote their new model. An offer that Hugo accepted without a thought. This resulted in a number of historical moped tours that are still referenced in moped magazines.
During his last grand tour around the Mediterranean Sea (winter of 1959-1960) Hugo received, in Egypt, a request by telex from his father, to make not only mono pictures, but also 3D pictures. Hugo's father regularly gave presentations with slide-shows for societies and other groups on various topics, and he had taken up the idea to make 3D presentations combined with 5 channel stereophonic sound (more or less a predecessor of surround sound that, for that time, was spectacular).
Back at home in the Netherlands Hugo was set to work to realize a large part of the technical equipment needed for this (photo equipment). In the sixties and seventies Hugo must have done over a 1000 stereo projec-tions with his equipment.
In the early sixties Hugo came up with the plan to place coin-operated 3D viewers with stereo pictures at touristic locations. No one else did this and he did not have much money to finance this enterprise. He started anyhow and in the end he had about 80 viewers at roadside locations and another 100 that he rented out. The roadside viewers were taken home once a year to clean and restore them and place them back good as new. And in summer every two weeks he drove along all viewers to collect the earnings. His wife and children helped counting the coins. Over a period of 25 years the coin-operated viewers were a steady source of income; well foresighted by Hugo.
In 1970 the forerunner of the Nederlandse Vereninging voor Stereofotografie (NVvS, Dutch Society for Stereophotography, established in 1973) started. From that start Hugo was in charge of the stereoprojection for over 30 years with his own-build high quality, multifunctional and bright stereoprojectors.
As a recognized expert he commented on the slides of the members. And although it was meant as constructive, his judgement was not always appreciated. Over the years his criticisms became milder and finally ended when the club changed to digital projection around 2005. Advancing technology and standardization resulted in Hugo storing his projectors and other interesting stereo equipment in his private museum.
In 1975 the NVvS organized an International Stereoscopic Congress Union in Wageningen, The Netherlands. It was at this congress that the ISU was founded and it therefore counts as the first ISU World Congress.
Of course Hugo was involved as well to take care of the projection. Also, at the next congress in France, the ISU relied heavily on Hugo and his versatile projector. This projector was a technical feat. It could handle the many different formats of slides, and switching between formats was relatively quickly taking into account that it required changing the slide holder, lenses and condensers.
At later congresses in Germany, Switzerland, and the UK Hugo was also in charge of the projection. Participants of the many ISU World Congresses that followed will remem-ber Hugo's presence at the trade fairs (photo Gmunden) where he promoted his stereo-scopic equipment and sold all kinds of stereophotographic necessities.
In the meantime Hugo continued building tabletop and handheld viewers with which he became known worldwide, and that, in a time without internet. He accumulated a large network with diverse contacts from amateur 3D photographers to renowned scientists, that he supported in photo-graphing their work in 3D and presenting it at conferences. A number of them he could count amongst his friends for many years.
But Hugo did not get it for free. He made long days and often worked in the evenings and weekends (photo workshop). But he did not mind: his work was his hobby.
As token of appreciation for his efforts, in 1992 the NVvS awarded Hugo the Honorary Membership. And in 2001 he received the Deutsche Raumbildpreis for best 3D specialist from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Stereoskopie.
Of all the plans he had, Hugo executed some with more, others with less, success. He seized every opportunity to experience some-thing special.
That is how he fulfilled his dreams and gained a reputation in the 3D community in The Netherlands, and worldwide, where his name is synonymous with high quality and reliability.
All this has also been made possible by Greet, his wife, with whom he shared 50 years of joys and sorrows (photo Hugo & Greet). She knew, as no other, that Hugo loved his freedom and gave him all these years the space to do all the things that he has done. She supported him in all his activities. She managed Hugo's business, accompanied him to trade fairs (photo fotografica beurs) and congresses, and during photoshoots she carried his bags.
Together they visited and enjoyed the most beautiful places in The Netherlands, be it a paper-mill in Groningen, all the lighthouses along the Dutch coast or secluded nature reserves in Zeeland. And at home she helped framing the stereopairs; thousands in all those years.
To his son Jeroen Hugo has passed on the reputation of the name De Wijs, as solid as one could wish for. Jeroen loved working with Hugo, even though in his view his father's ideas and commercial approach became a bit outdated over the years.
Jeroen, who had taken over part of the business with his own company already 16 years earlier, was the one who took his father and the company into the digital era.
He still took Hugo on interesting assign-ments such as photographing the nuclear power plant in Borselle. Jeroen will not only miss his father but also an inspiring and respected colleague.
Hugo's last business related trip was in November 2015. At that moment Hugo was already aware of his illness and the expected course of the disease. Jeroen and Karin took him to the opening of the exhibition 'De wereld van Mesdag in Stereofotografie' (The world of Mesdag in stereophotography) at the Panorama Mesdag museum in The Hague for which Jeroen had supplied the tabletop viewers and duplicates of the stereocards. A visitor who looked in the viewer became very excited and she said to Hugo who happened to stand near her: "You really must see this. This is beautiful!", at which Hugo responded proudly and with a big smile: "Yes, I know… We made those, and have done so for many years."
This is a combination of contributions by Karin Smith-de Wijs (wife of Jeroen de Wijs, spoken at the funeral) and Job van de Groep.
Dear 3D friends all over the World,
With great sadness in our heart I have to give notice of the fact that my father Hugo de Wijs passed away at the age of 82 years last Monday at 18:25 after a short period of fighting against cancer.
The disease symptoms did manifest in August 2015 and professionals concluded in October that the situation was too far developed to solve.
Because of the fact that my father was one of the founders of the Dutch 3D society and the ISU as well, it felt like the obligation to inform the world of his death.
Enclosed I send you copies of the funeral card and a translation as well. (see above)
During the funeral, an old fashioned 3D analogue slide show will be given with his projector of the 1970.
Regarding the business of my father 'Hugo de Wijs v.o.f.' it has been unsubscribed (unincorporated) as company in December 2015. It was founded around 1962 but had an official company subscription in 1968.
I am running the company 'de Wijs apparatenbouw' already for 16 years as a separate company and designed 3D viewers and systems from 1991.
With this note I hope to clarify the situation and avoid misunderstandings.
As heritage of my fathers company I take care of his archive and devices he made and designed.
Thank you for your attention.
Jeroen de Wijs
The Nederlandse Vereniging voor Stereofotografie shall honor his memory.
It is with sadness that we announce that after an illness of several months on Monday April 4, 2015 our honorary member Hugo de Wijs passed away at the age of 82 years.
Hugo was a pillar under the community of stereophotographers in The Netherlands and abroad.
From the meeting in 1972 at which it was decided to found the Nederlandse Vereniging voor Stereofotografie (NVvS), for about thirty years Hugo took care of the projection at the national club meetings and the ISU-Congresses that were organized by the NVvS. As token of appreciation for his efforts, in 1992 the NVvS awarded Hugo the honorary membership.
Hugo made use of self-built stereoprojectors. These were renowned for their optical quality, brightness, and the possibility to handle a large variety of slide formats.
After he stopped with the stereoprojection Hugo was always present at the national meetings with a stand where the members could purchase all kind of necessities such as slide-mounts, masks, polarized glasses, etc.
Also outside the NVvS Hugo was a highly appreciated stereophotographer. He made stereophotos for museums, scientific institutes and government institutions and arranged exhibitions with stereophotos and projections at scientific and other confer-ences. Renowned are the 'De Wijs' viewers with stereoslides that Hugo designed and which have been exported worldwide. For many years he himself exploited these viewers at touristic locations.
Hugo de Wijs is arguably one of the few among us whom history will record as a truly significant force in late 20th century stereography.
He is notably a builder of stereoscopes of many styles: hand-held; tabletop; floor models; every conceivable format, with every conceivable amenity.
His Viewmaster viewer ($500 at the ISU in Rolduc; $560 at the NSA in Bellevue, WA) is a knockout that has to be experienced to be believed.
I suspect they will achieve classic status, as has his others. His scopes are simply matchless, hand-wrought, gems of beautiful mechanical ingenuity, that cost a fortune and I assume, last forever.
Commentary by Marilyn Morton.