history of extraordinary people who have enriched our lives
by John Dennis
Stereo artist, author, and founding
member of the International Stereoscopic Union Arthur Girling died
April 17, 2000 at the age of 84. He had served as both secretary of the
group and as editor of Stereoscopy, as well as organizing annual
conventions for the Stereoscopic Society in England through the 1970s
and early '80s.
NSA member Girling became known internationally for
his expertise in stereoscopic drawing techniques following the 1990
publication of his book Stereoscopic Drawing—A Theory of 3-D Vision and
its Application to Stereoscopic Drawing. In his Stereo World review
(Vol. 17 No. 5, page 19), 3-D conversion artist Ray Zone said of the
Setting forth as it does some of the fundamental principles of
stereoscopic drawing, it fills a void in the bibliography of 3-D.
Furthermore, it provides a theoretical grounding for the consideration
of what is (after 150 years) still a "new" art form, a medium created
expressly for binocular enjoyment....Without a theoretical context for
decades, this new art form has been relegated to the status of
"novelty" or "gimmick". The complex dynamics of displaying this art
form have been kept in cultural backwaters for years. Now, with the
publication of this book, 3-D drawing and conversion can be integrated
into the world of fine art and general aesthetics.
In the same Stereo World issue as the above, Arthur Girling reviewed the 3-D
conversion work of Ray Zone in the 80 page, 1990 DC Comics publication Batman 3D. Commenting on the loss of Arthur Girling in his keynote
speech to the 2000 NSA Convention in Mesa, Ray Zone credited him for
his influence, noting that "This gentle, precise and wonderful man
inspired me with his 3-D conversions .... He was most generous with his
time and his advice."
penchant for satire wasn't limited to his stereo drawings. His 1976
"Instant Gobblede-gook" article (reprinted in the July, 2000 issue of The Stereoscopic Society Journal) provides sets of interchangeable
phrases to be used in writing comments about the stereographs in folios
or in competitions. My favorite is number 4 from Table B. The
gobbledegook phrase (Part 1) is "...the emergent potential of the
subordinated features..." while the more direct phrase (number 4, part
2) is "...this flat, washed-out landscape where only the dust spots are
ISU and Stereoscopic Society gatherings have lost
one of their most delightful and gentle participants. In his familiar
bow tie, with his special sense of humor and ability to both produce
and inspire 3-D drawings and anaglyphs, Arthur Girling will truly be
OBITUARY FROM THE STEREOSCOPIC SOCIETY JOURNAL OF 3-D IMAGING
Veteran Society member Arthur Girling died peacefully on 17th April at the age of 84, after a short spell in hospital.
Most present-day members of the Society will have known Arthur best for
his wonderful and skillfully- executed stereo drawings, of which he was
the acknowledged leading exponent in this country, and for the book in which he described his technique.
Older members will recall the vast amount of work he did for the
Society in the 1970s and early 80s, notably as the convenor of the
London meetings when they first moved to the Mary Ward Centre and as
the annual conventions organiser for several years. He was
a foundation member of the International Stereoscopic Union, in which he played a leading role in its early years as both Secretary and editor of its journal "Stereoscopy".
The pinnacle of his achievements came in 1983, when he organised the spectacularly successful ISU Congress in Buxton, after which he was content to retire to the back
benches, though until the end he remained a familiar face at Society
Don Wratten APSA, LRPS
(From The Stereoscopic Society Journal of 3-D Imaging No 149 Summer (July) 2000)
A Stereoscopic Artist
by Ray Zone
For many years I have been intrigued by the stereoscopic drawings
of Arthur Girling. I first encountered them in the pages of "Stereoscopy" (No. 8, 1979) published by the International Stereoscopic Union (ISU). A lovely series of four stereo pairs created by Girling
are reproduced on page 11 of this issue. Three of them are stereo
conversions of club logos for the ISU, the Stereoscopic Society and the Third Dimension Society. The fourth is an intricate geometric rendering with a
dramatic depth effect. Long before I began my own career with
stereo conversion I pondered the fine work evident in these lovely 3-D
images and drew inspiration from them.
After a 50 year career in Stereography, both as a dedicated amateur and
a professional, Arthur Girling has passed away. He was in his
mid-eighties so we can safely say that Arthur was a stereographer for
more than half of his life. He was a sweet and very soft-spoken
man who practiced the stereographic art with a great sense of history
and a delicate precision. Thankfully, Arthur had the foresight to
self-publish a magnum opus called "Stereoscopic Drawing, A Theory of 3-D Vision and Its Application to Stereoscopic Drawing" in 1990. It is a handsome casebound hardback book with 96 black-and white pages and 11 gorgeous anaglyphic plates.
With "Stereoscopic Drawing," Arthur demonstrated the exact theoretical foundations of his own work
by examining the 19th century writings and art of Charles Wheatstone
and Sir David Brewster. I reviewed "Stereoscopic Drawing" for the November/December 1990 issue of Stereo World and offered the following remarks:
"Stereoscopic Drawing is a unique
marriage of the theoretical and the pragmatic. In the absence of
any database on the subject, Girling has been forced to invent
techniques for implementing 3-D conversion of existing images and
'pure' 3-D drawing of geometric solids.
"Girling provides information to the
reader on the basic parameters of anaglyphic drawing and in a
subsequent chapter on 'Drawing the Double Image or Stereo Pair,' he
addresses means by which a free standing projection drawing may be
contrived. He offers techniques for creating raised base drawings
and fabricating images 'in the round.'
"With a chapter on special effects
the author considers some of the perceptual anomalies that are only
possible with binocular vision. Girlingis
well grounded in the psychology of vision and his speculations on
stereoscopic anomalies are to the point. Under consideration in this
chapter are such phenomena as pseudostereo, hyper/ hypo, random dot
stereograms, monocular stereo, cardboarding, multiplane stereo and
"In discussing the dynamics of
stereopsis, Girling is setting forth some of the aesthetic potential of
3-D drawing and conversion. Many stereoscopic techniques are
available in these arenas that would be difficult, if not impossible,
to apply to stereophotography proper. These techniques exploit
the interactive character of stereo perception and the mysterious realm
of the brain and its role in vision."
By a happy circumstance, in the same issue of Stereo World, Arthur reviewed the "Batman 3-D" graphic novel which I had just produced and was very insightful and kind in commenting on my work with 3-D comics. "The stereographer making sequences for projection would find it worth while to study these drawings," he wrote. "A
close study of the anaglyph sequences will give stereographers a fresh
outlook which could influence the composition of their pictures and
bring much needed variety into the presentation of a sequence."
Recently, Arthur was kind enough to lend me his copy of Wheatstone's 1838 paper "Contributions to the Physiology of Vision."
He had lovingly prepared his copy of the treatise into an annotated
chapbook bound together by hand. Among stereographers, Arthur
Girling will be remembered for his landmark work in the field of 3-D