‘Queen in 3D’ Makes Freddie and Co Leap off the Page

Queen in 3D, Image: The London Stereoscopic Company
Queen in 3D, Image: The London Stereoscopic Company

Queen in 3D is the latest book about the band Queen to hit shelves. Written by guitarist Brian May, it explores the history of the band in detail, but I was particularly interested in this book because of its unique feature, one given away by its title.

Queen guitarist Brian May is a fan and avid spokesperson for stereoscopic photography, also known as stereoscopy. This method of photography, first developed during the 1800s, uses a special camera with a dual lens which takes two photographs of the subject from the separate lenses. You can now buy an attachment for your iPhone or a simple app to replicate the effect but, sadly, 3D Camera, the app recommended by Brian himself, has not been updated to iOS 11 and there are currently no plans to do so.

The lens or app takes two images slightly apart from one another. To the casual viewer the images appear almost identical, but when placed side by side and viewed through a special apparatus—or by training the eyes in a method similar to the old Magic Eye pictures of the ’90s—the images leap out from the page in impressive 3D.

A shot of Brian May that was snuck on to the front cover of the Live Killers album, Credit Photo from Queen in 3-D belonging to Brian May (taken on his stereo camera), Image: The London Stereoscopic Company
A shot of Brian May that was snuck on to the front cover of the Live Killers album, Credit Photo from Queen in 3-D belonging to Brian May (taken on his stereo camera), Image: The London Stereoscopic Company

Queen in 3D is packed with hundreds of these stereoscopic images taken by the band throughout their long career, beginning before the band formed and coming right up-to-date with photos taken on the recent tours with Adam Lambert. The book is packaged with a plastic OWL viewer designed by Brian, which folds away completely flat inside the book sleeve but can be folded up to form the viewing apparatus needed to see the photos. The OWL doesn’t just work with the pictures in the book either, my son and I quickly discovered it is the perfect size to look at stereoscopic images on an iPhone too. There are thousands out there to look at, and that’s before you inevitably start making your own.

Because the majority of pictures in the book are stereoscopic and require a viewer to see properly, they have not been published before. This makes this book a rarity in how much new material it contains, even for die-hard Queen fans. Brian’s authorship also lends the book a measure of accuracy and authenticity which is often sadly lacking from other band biographies, and there is plenty of new information and photos in here for all Queen fans.

Using the OWL to view stereographs, Image: Sophie Brown
Using the OWL to view stereographs, Image: Sophie Brown

Naturally, this isn’t the easiest book to read thanks to having to regularly adjust it and use the OWL to see the pictures. If you can train your eyes to see without it then you can do away with the OWL, but I found that repeatedly looking at the photos without the viewer quickly brought on a headache. Forgetting the slight awkwardness of reading, however, this will almost certainly be one of the most unique books you own and will probably attract a lot of attention from visitors. I took it along when we went to visit family over Christmas and everyone, even those who don’t know or especially like Queen, was soon passing the OWL around and flicking through the pages saying, “oh, look at this one, this is really good!”

A unique book and a must-have for any Queen fan or anyone interested in unusual photography, at over $40 Queen in 3D isn’t the cheapest book you could buy about either subject, but the inclusion of the OWL makes it worth every penny.

GeekMom received this book for review purposes.