Before moving images existed, photographers used a technique called stereoscopic pairs to add movement to an otherwise static photo.
If you’ve seen photos taken before the year 1900, you may notice that some are displayed in identical pairs. It’s not the work of a wasteful photographer, but a specific kind of photo known as stereoscopic pairs. These images are kind of like the proto-GIF: If you alternated opening and closing your left and right eye, you would see the images “move” in one fluid scene.
Today, stereoscopic pairs can become actual GIFs, which takes some of the pressure off our eyes and provides us with the sensation of walking into the past:
Next, learn why Victorians didn't smile in photos.