The name Jules Richard is synonymous for innovative stereoscopy products that revived stereo photography in Europe. He remained unmarried all his life but was constantly surrounded by women. Soon after the launch of the Vérascope camera in 1893, he put the first series of erotic stereoviews on the market. In 1909, he built a Roman Atrium next to his house which he used as a photo studio. In the Atrium and the surrounding gardens, erotic photos were taken by himself and other photographers. The models posed in a mythological setting from classical antiquity, which was intended to make the erotic photos more acceptable. Nude photography was tolerated in the early 20th century in France, but was not widely accepted and could be a risky business. The models came mainly from the Parisian nightclubs and were professional or amateur models[1-p.137].
The total range of erotic glass stereoviews in Jules Richard’s Atrium collection is approximately 7.500, of which an estimated 6.350 are made by Jules Richard himself[1-p.131]. The images were sold discreetly and the buyers could select the desired images from catalogs. The glass slides in the 45x107mm format were numbered according to an ascending scheme and the recording information has been preserved so that information about location, year and sometimes even the names of the models is known[1-p.137]. From these lists it can be concluded that some images were not intended for sale and probably made for private purposes only. Some images show models being captured from different camera angles simultaneously, showing that several photographers were active during a session.
After Jules Richard’s death, the Atrium was demolished in the 1930s to allow for expansion of the factory.
Jules Richard’s Atrium
- Perin, Jacques. Jules Richard et la Magie du Relief, Part 3, 1993