Photography in the Air War

Following on from the two last posts on the critical role of photography in the Air War, I stumbled across this wartime press photograph of the head of Bomber Command, Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris, studying reconnaissance photographs using:

a variation of the old-fashioned stereopticon which used to be kept in the parlour to entertain guests

harris and stereopticon

Harris is using it to examine photographs of war-damaged Berlin the day after the Berlin raid of 19 February 1944. The text accompanying the photograph, which was authorised for release to the press on 25 February 1944, continues:

Harris got the idea of using stereopticons in the Air Force when he saw an old one in his aunt’s home.  Now two of the highly developed magic lanterns rest on his desk at the photographic interpretation section of the RAF Command Headquarters, and hundreds of others have been manufactured for use by the US as well as Great Britain.