— An Appreciation
[The following is reproduced by kind permission of the author and of The Independent newpaper, in whose obituary columns it appeared on 16th February 1988.]
PAT WHITEHOUSE was the innovator, manipulator and master hand of a refreshingly joyous way of presenting photography. Stereoscopy in photographs is by no means new, but the viewer, eager to see marvels in three dimensions, needed concentration and a little effort on his part. Pat Whitehouse bought stereoscopic photography to a point where wonderful audiovisual programmes could be given to large audiences sitting in comfort and totally relaxed. Not always relaxed; at moments close-up views of insects, one of Pat's specialities could give a vivid illusion of large antennae or mandibles zooming from the screen into the front row.
As in any audio-visual show, recorded music and speech accompanied the projection of slides but, still as they were, Pat's pictures were alive, immense and powerful with their sense of space. To see for instance, a bee entering a flower was to become that bee, aware of the great depth of a colour tunnel formed of petals. Scenery offered breathtaking perspective through which one sensed a flow of wind and weather. Nests became tough, hollow structures with their spans spatially intertwining. Children were chubby realities. A horse looking over a fence had its mouth ready to feed from one's hand
Smoothly edited, these views created pictorial essays and stories. Their subjects were far from the expected. The life-cycle of one runner-bean (from germination to vegetable dish); exploration of corners of a Cambridge garden; Pat's delightful one-year old granddaughter paediatrically illustrating Gilbert & Sullivan's "Modern Major-General"; a deserted railway station in poetic survey; the aesthetic possibilities of sand on a beach; intimate views of a cock robin rearing a nestful of deserted blackbird chicks; the feeling of getting wet by the Niagara Fails; patterns created by decorated biscuits - these were all in her repetoire.
1979 Photographic Society of America annual convention in Hartford CT -Pat Whitehouse of Cambridge England by Susan Pinsky
Bee spreading pollen in purple flower by Pat Whitehouse
Bird Nest in a Pipe by Pat Whitehouse
1983 International Stereoscopic Union congress Buxton UK Pat Whitehouse changing lamp
in her double Hawk 3-D projector during show Oct by Susan Pinsky
Three Beauties by Pat Whitehouse
Certainly the most beloved item was the "Hallelujah Chorus" in her pictorial rendering of Handel's 'Messiah'. ' This masterpiece of beauty and fun deserves to become a national monument. Appropriate to the music the singers varied from fledglings and a duck (male chorus) to little lilies (female chorus).
Mama bird feeding hungry mouths by Pat Whitehouse
As these happinesses were being shown Pat's slim, smiling and quiet figure was just discernible. She was completely modest about her work and appeared surprised and delighted that the acclaim given to her. It was characteristic that when she arrived anywhere to set up her programme she would unload the technical apparatus from an assortment of domestic carriers or shopping bags.
Cute Child by Pat Whitehouse
Pat's meticulous work began long before a photograph was taken. She made her own cameras. After studying the way human eyes appraised distance she realised her need of stereoscopic cameras that did not yet exist. Her solution was to make her own. "So 'Baby Bertha' came into being", she wrote. "She grew out of bits and pieces of odd cameras, bellows, camera bodies, roll film holder etc. The shutter, an old Thornton-Pickard blind type, was cocked by pulling a string and fired by a cable release".
1983 International Stereoscopic Union congress Buxton UK Valerie Lowe and Pat Whitehouse
Oct by Susan Pinsky
Few are those who can build their own cameras. Even fewer those who have adapted existing lenses by cutting them to size on the kitchen table. Pat had created four cameras of her own and at the time of her death was building a fifth designed to help her bryologist husband photograph mosses. At meetings Pat would detail the way she built a camera at home much as a housewife might describe an improved recipe for making omelettes.
Meticulous too was the long careful preparation of her slides. Pat used special frames within which each of the paired pictures had to be fitted with precision. This kept her hours in her workroom.
1985 Pat Whitehouse camera in Cambridge by David Burder
1985 Pat Whitehouse camera 2 in Cambridge by David Burder
With gloriously ordered disorder it was full of files, tapes, slides, catalogues, light-viewers, tools, projectors and apparatus identifiable only to its owner. It was both an Aladdin's cave and a little temple of technology within which the visitor moved cautiously lest he or she bestirred some of the magic.
Pat Whitehouse took to photography relatively late. She graduated in physiology in Cambridge and then moved to University College Hospital, London. Here research in endocrinology led to her PhD from discoveries relating to diabetes and the histology of the pancreas.
To further her scientific work she completed the full medical course at St. Thomas's Hospital, where she was one of the first two women students.
Passion Flower by Pat Whitehouse
1985 Pat Whitehouse working in her workroom in Cambridge by David Burder
1985 Pat Whitehouse working in her workroom in Cambridge 2 by David Burder
1985 Pat Whitehouse working in her workroom in Cambridge 3 by David Burder
In 1951 she joined the Royal Photographic Society. In 1961 she gained its Fellowship for close-up stereophotographs of moss. In 1962 she joined the Stereoscopic Society, of which she later became President. In 1972 the RPS awarded her its Hood Medal for merit, art and craftsmanship. In 1986 she became an Honorary Fellow of the society.
In the photographic world her fame was immense, and so was the affection and admiration given to her. The Photographic Society of America coaxed her across the Atlantic three times. She was invited to give presentations to the International Stereoscopic Union in England, Holland, France and Switzerland.
The last time, at Interlaken in 1987, ended in a standing ovation of over ten minutes.
- Sacha Playfair
MARGARET PATRICIA HORLICK, photographer, born 4 July 1922, married 1948 Harold Whitehouse (two daughters), died 11 February I988. She was 68 years old.
Bird on a Branch by Pat Whitehouse
1987 International Stereoscopic Union Congress in Switzerland - Pat and Harold Whitehouse
looking at mosses by Susan Pinsky
1987 International Stereoscopic Union Congress in Switzerland - Pat Whitehouse and Susan Pinsky
at Congress Banquet by David Starkman
Bee with Pollen by Pat Whitehouse
Shadows in Cambridge by Pat Whitehouse
THE CHAIRMAN'S PIECE
by Arthur Packham
There must surely be some members who, until now, were unaware that Pat Whitehouse suffered a fatal heart attack on llth February, and was buried on. 19 February 1988.
"In common with thousands of other people, both in Britain and abroard, my first experience of stereo photography was at a Pat Whitehouse Show. That was twenty years ago, and it made a deep and lasting impression on me; but it was not until 1970 that I first met Pat on a one to one basis, to chat informally. The occasion was when the Royal Photographic Society had its new South Audley Street headquarters officially opened by H.R.H. the Princess Margaret, and I had been fortunate in a 'lucky dip' draw to attend this ceremony as an ordinary member in the company of the President, Council and other distinguished guests.
1985 Inter. Stereoscopic Union Congress Wash DC Thomas Hanchin, Arthur Girling, Pat Whitehouse
and David Burder by Susan Pinsky
1983 Inter. Stereoscopic Union Buxton UK Valerie Lowe and Pat Whitehouse
at Chatsworth House by Paul Wing Jr
Looking around for somebody to talk to I spotted Pat Whitehouse and, although I had only been a member of an audience at her shows, as soon as I expressed my growing interest in stereo to her she chatted with me for some time - without me ever getting the feeling that she wanted to stop or move on to a 'more famous' person.
Subsequent to that initial meeting I have had the great pleasure of being associated variously with Pat Whitehouse on the R.P.S. Council, the R.P.S. Colour Group Committee, on which she served a term as Chairman and, of course, on our own Society Committee, where she served a term as President.
1983 Inter Stereoscopic Union Buxton UK -Hugo de Wijs with his viewers, Jewel Smaus, Pat Whitehouse, and Jack Williams by Louis Smaus
Pat was always thoughtful, kindly and generous; but once her mind was made up in debate she had great strength of conviction and could put her point of view as forcefully as anyone. Her slight stature could easily mislead you into thinking otherwise.
All interested in photography, and stereo photography in particular, will miss Pat's expertise and wise counsel. I certainly will.
1989 International Stereoscopic Union congress Switzerland Harold Whitehouse on left end, Susan Pinsky and David Starkman across table and Pat Whitehouse looking at camera by David Burder
1979 Photographic Society of America in Hartford CT - Col (Ret) Mel Lawson, Carol Lee, Joe Fallon, Ruth, Stergis Stergis and Maudie Stergis and Pat Whitehouse plus others
by Susan Pinsky
Pat Whitehouse with camera in hand by David Burder
Pat Whitehouse shooting bird in winter on outdoor photo booth with stereo camera by David Burder
1983 International Stereoscopic Union Buxton UK - Pat Whitehouse and David Burder by Susan Pinsky
1985 International Stereoscopic Union Congress Wash DC - Seton Rochwite and Pat Whitehouse
by David Starkman
(from May/June 1988 Stereo World)
— Paul Wing
The rekindling of interest in stereoscopic photography, sparked by the appearance of 35mm format cameras in the early 1950's, captured the attention of many talented people. On a special pinnacle among these was Pat Whitehouse of Cambridge, England.
Careful selection of 3-D slides and meticulous alignment in mounting are a special challenge in the field of 3-D slide presentation. Using the English Hawk four-lens dissolve projector, Pat built up a remarkable series of vignettes set to music or voice and personally screened by Pat at the projector with the touch of an orchestral conductor
Her choice of subject matter was wide ranging. Her expertise in bird and insect photography tended to overshadow her equally impressive accomplishments in a wide ranging series of essays. One was simply titled "Rain." Another was based on patterns in nature in twos, threes, fours, fives, and sixes. Pat had a rare talent that has been sorely missed.
For closeups, Pat made up four different cameras and was working on a fifth. They were stuck together quite literally on the kitchen table using an old camera body, old lenses and other bits and pieces.
Having graduated in physiology from Cambridge, she moved on to University College Hospital, London, for a PhD in endocrinology. From there, she completed a full medical course at St. Thomas's Hospital as one of its first two women students.
The membership of the british Stereoscopic Society, and largely Barry Aldous, have now allowed her shows to be digitally copied and easily set up for todays audiences to enjoy. Her contribution to our great hobby was immense.
Pat Whitehouse camera building
The Pat Whitehouse Show -
3 View-Master Reels
By Pat Whitehouse
This View-Master 3-Reel Album contains a history of the life of Pat Whitehouse (1922-1988) and her 3-D work, and is a wonderful souvenir for anyone who has seen one or more of her shows.
One of the reels features seven views from the The Hallelujah Chorus, Pat's famous pictorial rendering of Händel's Messiah, in which the singers range from fledgling birds and a duck to little lilies.
A wonderful addition to your stereoscopic library!
Published by 3-D Book Productions, by the late Harry zur Kleinsmiede of The Netherlands
Photographing in 3D - David Burder FRPS & Pat Whitehouse FPRS
About the Authors:
Pat Whitehouse was a founder member of the Third Dimension Society and one of Britain's most noted presenters of 3-D slide programs. Her specialty was nature photography and she made several very successful home-built stereo cameras for close-up photography. She passed into the 4th dimension in 1988. The 3rd and 4th printings of this book are a tribute to her memory.
David G. Burder is a professional stereo photographer working in scientific research and commercial advertising. He is a internationally recognized expert on anaglyph and lenticular imaging. He has built over 15 different stereo cameras in the last 10 years.
Revised 3rd Edition
A real gem - perfect for a simple introduction to stereo photography!
"Our aim has been to provide some basic guidance on how to take and view a 3-D (Three Dimensional) photograph using inexpensive, readily available equipment. Once you have produced your first 3-D picture, the door to a whole new dimension of photography is open to you."
Note: Emphasis is on Film Cameras (the booklet was written before digital photography) but the same ideas can apply to digital too
Table of Contents:
1. How 3-D Photography works
2. 3-D Photography with an Ordinary Single Lens Camera
3. How Far to Shift the Camera
4. Mounting a 3-D Pair of Slides
5. Viewing 3-D Colour Slides
6. 3-D Photography with two Ordinary Cameras
7. 3-D Attachments for Ordinary Cameras
8. Projection of 3-D Colour Slides
9. A Brief History of 3-D Photography
10. 3-D Photography Today
11. 3-D Viewing without a viewer
12. Some Useful Addresses
As you can see from the Table of Contents, this little 32 page book covers a lot of ground in simple terms. Illustrated with many color stereo pairs, it is a perfect simple introduction to stereoscopic photography.