Meet the Maker - Barry Rothstein

Meet the Maker - Barry Rothstein

Barry Rothstein

Meet Barry, the Maker behind Phantom 3-D Cards and Books

"A phantogram is a special style of 3-D, a fine combination of science and art that gains its power by precisely imitating normal vision. Phantograms bring photography to life, in phenomenal reach-out-and-touch imagery. They're a genuine wow!"

Read his story below


How’d you get your start?

Unlike most of my friends in the 3-D photography community, I didn't own a View-Master™ as a kid, and don't remember ever seeing a 3-D comic book.  An amateur photographer since my teens, I lived my first full fifty years unaware of 3-D photography.
Seeing a stereoscope in an antique store during the winter of 2003 changed my life. How was it I knew nothing about this, when before my eyes I could see the civil war was shot in 3-D? I was instantly fascinated and within a few months was making hundreds of my own 3-D images for the stereoscope.  
That was in the early days of digital cameras becoming popular. Digital photography, 3-D imagery, and my computer geekiness gelled perfectly for me. The next summer I attended a National Stereoscopic Association convention, essentially an annual gathering of 250-300 collectors of antique 3-D images and devices, and producers of state of the art 3-D imagery.  
There I saw my first "photographic phantograms" and actually only a few at this event.      


“Reading imaginative books or seeing great films, I'd always wanted to do some type of art that inspired people, and in 3-D photography and phantograms I found my medium.” 


Describe your day at home or in your workspace?

I'm a lucky man. I walk my dog Pepper every day - subconsciously hunting beautiful, intricate moments and shapes of reality and nature. Phantograms are unique, and superior at showing life and nature as we actually see it every day. In an imperfect way, I replicate what I see... from a point of view and through a specific window, and share these moments with my images.

What special equipment do you use?

For my first book I used a Canon G2, a pretty good early digital camera. For the 3-D effect, I made a "slide-bar" out of aluminum sliding door track, so I could shoot a shot for the left eye, slide over approximately 2.5 inches, and shoot a shot for the right eye, which order they're shot doesn't matter.
Later on I bought identical Sony V3's, mounted them facing the same way, and used a device that made them shoot at the same time. Later the same with Sony R1's. After that, Fujifilm created a good point and shoot 2-lens 3-D camera that I use for most purposes. For my macro work I use a Panasonic Lumix GX7 macro camera with a special 3-D lens.

Why Long Beach?

My wife Betsy and I have lived in Long Beach since 1986, at first in Belmont Shore (near the old Hamburger Henry's), then near El Dorado Park, and since 2008 in the Rose Park South neighborhood. We chose Long Beach since it was coastal and a relatively easy drive up highway 710 to where I worked at the time. We found Long Beach to be a great place to live in a number of ways: coastal, working class, affordable, great weather, lots of parks and nice outdoor spaces.  


“Since the first book I've produced five more, three self-published, two with Chronicle Books, those also published in Italian and Japanese.”


Favorite local eateries and drinkeries?

We especially like our neighborhood in that it's a great outdoor and walking place. It's rare to need to drive to a restaurant with so many good ones within easy walking distance to us. We like Alibaba Mediterranean, Hole Mole, Thai Bar-B-Q, Lola's, Little Coyote Pizza, 39 Degrees Sushi, Rivera's, and the Social List. We walk frequently to Bluff Park, Bixby Park, Carroll Park, and Rose Park.