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Contemporary descriptions  verify that the ‹visual desire› that arises when viewing stereoscopic photographs lay in the feeling of immersion:  The outside world disappears in favor of the space of an image, which is experienced as a real space. In its linking of apparatus and the physiology of sight, stereoscopy is part of a «modernization of vision»  that according to the art historian Jonathan Crary is associated with a new concept of the observer. The exploration of the physiology of human vision driven forward in the nineteenth century came to the conclusion that the observer is in no way merely a passive recipient of images of the outside world, rather the images are created in the visual process. Optical toys such as the phenacistiscope, the zootrope,  and of course the stereoscope represent the new insight that was being gained into vision (such as the after-image effect or binocularity). Besides their being a form of entertainment, at the same time they trained perception, which was being subjected to new demands in the age of industrialization.
Photography, however, not only produces the modern consumers of images, but also empowers them to produce their own images. In the beginning, photography as a private pastime was reserved for a small class as it required money and above all time to learn the skills necessary for taking and developing photos. At the end of the 1880s, the creation of the hand camera and roll film created the conditions for shutter photography, which no longer required knowledge of the photographic process. The famous slogan ‹You press the button, we do the rest,› with which the Kodak company advertised its first cameras, is an accurate indication of the dependence of the lay photographer on the photographic industry: S/he had become a producer of photographs only in the sense of being a consumer of its products and services.
An essential part of the practices of private photography is the photograph's quality as an index (refer to the section on «The photograph as an index,» above): Biographical occurrences are recorded and