Hi, my name is Dominik Oczkowski
I’m an architect, stereographer, model builder and product designer based in Munich and Cracow.
2020 I’ve founded OCZKO STEREO to design and manufacture stereoscopic equipment.
Are you looking for the PRESS KIT?
My vision is to provide affordable stereo equipment for more people
to share the passion of 3D photography
My fascination for stereoscopy started back in 2008 when I made my first stereo image by chance. I came back from a weekend trip to a remote valley during my architecture studies in Ticino. Accidentally I took two pictures of a romanesque chapel from slightly different perspectives. On my computer I wiggled back and forth these barely different images which resulted in a very intense effect : It was just one picture but with this strong perception of spatial depth!
This was when I realized that I could capture not only the light reflected from old bricks, but also the space and distance between them.
So besides creating spaces as an architect, I also started to document existing ones including the third dimension. Viewing stereo pairs gave me a more intense feeling of actually being there – a bit like stepping inside my photographs. Back then I was busy becoming an architect, so I couldn’t invest a lot of time into stereoscopy.
It was only some years later that I got in touch with photography again.
My father had been a photographer ever since I can remember. When he passed away, there was this huge archive of memories from my childhood. So I locked myself in the darkroom to go through some of the negatives he never printed.
While working in the dark I started to be interested in what a photograph actually is. This fusion of physics that creates inverted images and chemics, conserving them on silver gelatin paper, generated these unique probes of time. In my case they were moments from my own past. Consequently the photo camera became a time machine and my father turned out to be a collector of light, gathering time to last longer than he did.
This was when I started to read Roland Barthes. In his book ‚Camera Lucida’ (New York, Hill and Wang, 1981) he claims that photography has a strong aspect of death cult. In a photograph of a beloved person, his or her body gets immortalized by the use of a precious metal, which is silver. But he also writes that a photographed person gets pinned down like a butterfly in a display case. In return everything being photographed that is still alive, gets a morbid impression of already being dead.
This made me reflect on some very fundamental ideas. Why do I live here and now? Why do we all need to die? Barthes declares these questions to be very simple but the potential answers to be real metaphysics.
Maybe one can define the quality of a photograph
by the way it makes you thoughtful?
A good photograph touches you in a quiet and contemplative way, leaving a calm feeling of melancholy.
This element of stillness is what I try to empower by adding depth to it. Imagine the stillness of a painting by Edward Hopper, beautifully enhanced with stereo 3D! You would dive into the massive light and the essential texture of the moment, plus see the speciality. Imagine Saul Leiter’s, Irving Penn’s or even Jeff Wall’s images in 3D!
The next logical step was to construct my first own binocular pinhole cameras. An analogue pinhole stereo pair is probably the most archaic 3D technique.
What I like most in pinhole stereography is that it diminishes details from reality and adds a certain photographic texture to the image. This abstraction allows focussing on the essence of the photo and it’s light and depth.
Another interesting fact is that exposure time gets prolonged. Normally the sound of the shutter release is the sound of a moment in time that instantly passes. But what happens to the moment, when the shutter is open for several minutes? Is it important what you do or think during this period of time? Will you remember it when watching the developed picture? Is your memory part of the record?
My next step was to develop a simple stereoscope. For my experiments I used color reversal film, so I could see the stereoscopic image on the developed film, just by using two loupes. The spatial perception was enormous! The high quality slides showed the grain and the pinhole bokeh. Anyone who knows medium format 3D, knows the massive 3D effect of a good stereo slide pair. It was a satisfaction to me to see the difference to digital pixels. Through the act of viewing the original piece of film I learned to respect the only copy of an image.
Slowly I developed a strong urge to share my experiences. The history of stereoscopy is a history of inventors and tinkerers. Since I couldn’t find the gear I wished for, I started to develop my own cameras and stereoscopes. After a while they became more sophisticated and I was confident that they could be of use to others. I wanted more photographers to generate their own 3D memories.
Let’s grow the community of stereographers!
Over ten years after my first contact with stereoscopy, 2020 I decided to incorporate Oczko Stereo to develop optical devices for stereographers.
Lacking the needed funds, for a laser cutter, I’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign to promote my first product to come. Thanks again to all backers for their support!
2021 the ‚MINUTA STEREO Pinhole Camera‘ campaign got successfully funded on Kickstarter within one month. It made me very happy to see, that there was a lot of interest in a new camera adding stereo to pinhole photography. Over 160 backers believed in this project and invested their money, so I could set up the production. Although with a delay of some months, I’ve delivered all rewards including over 120 cameras, 90 stereoscopes and 1400 slide mounts.
It makes me happy to develop optical apparatuses and to work on the beautiful technique called stereoscopy.
Beside the VR movement, I am deeply convinced that there is a need for expanding sophisticated photography into the third dimension.