Last night, a vernissage was held for a new exhibition of photo-montages by members of the Caméra Photo Club du Lochois (CPCL) in the Loches Hôtel de Ville, a beautiful 16th-century building that is part of the Porte Picois, one of the ancient fortified gates of the town. Click here for an article (in French) about this exhibition from La Nouvelle République. The main reception room of the Hôtel de Ville (see photo above, with the President of the CPCL, Didier Gosselin, addressing the assembly) has been wallpapered in red tartan in preparation for the upcoming twinning of Loches with Saint Andrews in Scotland.
The CPCL has been going for half a century and is very active on all fronts. Some years ago, it received a donation of wooden boxes which, upon being opened, revealed a historical treasure: over 200 glass-plate stereoscopic images of Loches dating from 1908 to 1921 – intended for viewing with a wooden handheld stereoscope – showing views of daily life in the town, the local countryside, the flooding of the river Indre, gymnastic events, early automobiles, military manoeuvres, and much more. Putting over 1,000 man-hours into the enterprise, the CPCL took digital scans of the images and painstakingly restored them. The result is a unique archive, a 3D DVD (3D glasses provided) that transports you straight into the past, a century ago.
This is early 20th-century Oculus Rift, the dawn of virtual reality, and time travel rolled into one. The DVD, “Loches à la Belle Epoque”, is a unique example of how a local photo club can bring the past to life for the whole local community.