To begin, one must understand how rudimentary 3D vision works. A sense of perspective can be achieved with one eye, but two parallel eyes are needed to perceive depth and relative distances in space. The two separate images perceived by the eyes are merged by the brain to form a single picture. Englishman Charles Wheatstone, discovered a way to represent three-dimensional images on a flat surface in 1838.  At this same time, photography was invented almost simultaneously in France and England. With the discovery that stereoscopy is possible, ‘Stereoscopes’ or viewing equipment, were started to be created with two viewing lenses, each to look at two separate, but same, photographs.


A pair of antique, Victorian, stereoscopic cards with black and white photographic images of little children. By Kelley & Chadwick Publishers, Office: Chicago USA Studio © 1904, entitled “Give You A Penny For A Kiss & He Got The Kiss”

A stereoscope typical of ones from the 1900s. © Pearson Scott Foresman

A stereoscope typical of ones from the 1900s. © Pearson Scott Foresman

Anaglyph comes from two Greek words, “anagluphos”, which means “wrought in low relief” and the word “anagluphein”, which means “to carve in relief”. This process was pioneered in 1850 by two Frenchmen, Joseph D’Almeida and Louis Du Hauron. They created images where red and blue filters were used for color separation, and the viewer had to wear red and blue glasses to view the image with the intended effect: stereoscopic imagery – pictures with the illusion of depth.

A novel way of wearing tattoos will be getting it done in anaglyph 3D. The call for admiration of the tattoo workmanship more than makes up for the extra action of putting on 3D glasses to view it in a proper context. A quick search on the internet brought up only a few examples of 3D tattoos. This shows that there is potential for expansion of this quirky tattoo idea.

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Left) Courtesy of Joker the Tattoo Shop, Finland. Tattoo by Tuula Joka.

(Right) Courtesy of Lost Highway Tattoo, Belgium.