Man wearing collared shirt

Walt Whitman was one of the most photographed Americans of the nineteenth century, and one of his best known photographs is this one taken in Mathew Brady’s Washington studio in 1862. What’s less known, however, is that the original is a stereo pair:

U.S. National Archives,

In 2014 I merged the pair in a red-and-blue anaglyph,

but even with 2022’s improved editing technology the 3D remains unimpressive. It doesn’t help us see very much closer to belief in the historical possibility of an Orphic body.

But image sometimes anticipates the eventual completion of its seeing. Rembrandt may have understood that through his portrait etchings, and Whitman may have understood it through his posing body. See, in the left half of its double image: