The photographic Jumelle

The photographic Jumelle took over from the Detective during the 1890s. Directly inspired by cameras used for stereoscopic photography, it was slightly conical in form, more compact and easier to use than the Detective. The photographic Jumelle was rapidly adopted by the “most demanding amateurs”, and makers proposed various models, equipped with numerous perfections and all kinds of accessories.

Bodies for photographic Jumelles, made primitively out of wood, became metallic and were covered with a leather casing. The camera was equipped with a foldable rangefinder, fixed lenses of various focal lengths, and a largely functional shutter. It took a magazine holding 6, 12, 18 or even 24 plates whose formats varied from 6×6.5cm to 9x12cm. There was even a panoramic format which came out of the stereoscopic binocular, with the entire stereogramme plate receiving a unique view.

Leon Gimpel, a self-taught French photographer, worked with the L’Illustration newspaper between 1897 and 1936. He produced a number of reportages on Parisian life, in black-and-white and in colour (he was a great exponent of autochrome) equipped with a Spido photographic Jumelle by Gaumont. Thanks to this, photographic Jumelles were considered the first real tool for reporting…

Simple twin, Belliéni, France, Nancy, circa 1895.
Equipped with a Zeiss lens of normal focal length and a folding frame viewfinder.
(MSAP / collection Rizzolio)