E. James Smith began his interest in stereo photography during his college years after his great uncle showed him how to use his stereo Realist 3D camera. He shot prolifically around New York City and within nature sites in New England until 1994.
In the mid-2000s James resumed shooting stereo Realist slides and joined the New York Stereoscopic Society where he and fellow stereographer, William Meredith, sponsored a fundraising event at the Kettle of Fish in New York’s Greenwich Village. The event, called A Kettle of 3D Fun, featured slide shows by E. James Smith, William Meredith and Eric Drysdale, a display of lenticular flat art and a raffle, which helped to buy the Bracket Projector for use by the Society.
After this, Smith and Meredith teamed up to explore and shoot digital 3D video and make The Mermaid Parade in 3D, shot in 2007 at the famed Coney Island parade. The film serves to document Coney Island during the last decade before its recent redevelopment and modernization. The team made another 3D film called Blessing of the Animals in 3D, which documents the yearly service at Cathedral for St. John the Divine, which fills the legendary sanctuary with animals all to be blessed by the clergy.
Having a fascination with history, E. James Smith made Return to the Worlds Fair in 2009. This short film combines 3D footage of the current day fairgrounds for the 1964-65 Worlds Fair in Queens, New York with actual audio from the original fair. Using music and audio from newsreels, documentaries, radio and television, Smith allows the viewer to hear what happened on the same spot decades earlier. The sound includes quotes from the pope and President Lyndon Johnson as well as the original canned music that played out of the ubiquitous futuristic speakers everywhere on the fairgrounds.
After the New York Stereoscopic Society became inactive, Smith, Meredith along with D. Carlton Bright and John J. Zelenka founded the New York Stereoscopic Association. The NYSA continues to attract new members and cultivate the interests of all forms of stereography hosting monthly meetings where members share works and hear from guest speakers who work in the field.
In June 2015 the NYSA hosted a celebration of the first public showing of a 3D film one hundred years earlier in the same location in Times Square. The event showcased many talented speakers, showed hours of rare 3D footage and offered a large display of 3D equipment and memorabilia. The event was a great success drawing many more people than expected. E. James Smith made an exciting recap film highlighting what became one giant birthday party for 3D movies, cake and all!
As the Vice President and Curator of the New York Stereoscopic Association, E. James Smith continues his passion for 3D to this day. “It is great to be surrounded by so many 3D experts,” Smith said, “I feel like I am part of a stereoscopic think tank!”