Lenticular image making has a long and complex history, developing out of stereoscopic photographic processes invented in the late 19th century and autostereoscopic experiments dating back to the painter G.A. Bois-Clair in the 17th century. These optically differing technologies converged with the advent of parallax stereograms at the beginning of the 20th century, the precursors to the development of photographic lenticular image making in the 1920s and 30s. These separate histories are relevant to conceptualising the two illusory intentions of lenticular production today, namely the representation of three dimensions and/or motion.

Link to a more in-depth history of lenticulars compiled by David E. Robert for lenstar.org

It wasn’t until the 1960s are that mass-production of lenticular prints became feasible through advancements in plastics and printing technologies. Many companies developed the medium into the realms of advertising and novelty postcards. Explorations revolved around humorous and eye-catching images, perhaps most memorably in the 3D Jesus on the cross or the winking pin-up. Use of the medium largely exploited the most iconic and kitsch forms of popular imagery. With the digital accessibility of the medium over the last ten years we have seen its implementation in limited production for expensive advertising displays and art products, continuing the use of the medium to generate illusions that function at the level of spectacle.

The quasi-object nature of lenticulars forms an alternative medium to painting in the translation of visual information into the physical realm. My work in this field has explored various aspects of the functioning and significance of lenticular printmaking, its particular optical qualities, limitations, potentialities and deficiencies. There is room for experimentation through the deconstruction and subversion of the mechanics of lenticular design. As with photography and film, and painting before them, the nature of this medium, its special qualities and abilities to transfer meaning through material metaphor, has barely been explored. Its optical flaws and ambiguities provide many opportunities for creative intervention.