P.P. Sokolov’s Historical Work on Light Field Photography/Integral Imaging.

Futurepicture is proud to present its first contribution to the field of Computational Photography: The translation of Sokolov’s seminal “Autostereoscopy and Integral Photography by Professor Lippman’s Method“.

In 1908, Nobel Prize laureate Gabriel Lippmann proposed a new kind of camera — one with many lenses, which would capture angular information. These “Integral Photographs”, so named because they represent the sum of many small photographs taken with many small lenses, represent the basis for many prototype computational cameras that have only come into existence since the advent of cheap digital cameras and plentiful computing power.

Sokolov, a Russian, published a thorough mathematical investigation of the ideas Lippmann set into motion in the journal “Журнал Общества любителей естествознания”. His paper, under the guise of “autostereoscopic” photography, was really a paper about what we now understand to be pinhole lightfield photography. He derived the lens curvature equation, investigated various types of optics, and implemented what might be the first pinole based light field capture system. He also roughly thought out the relationship between angular samples and a complete 3-D impression of a scene, estimating that 1/5mm resolution ought to be good enough.

The camera system he manufactured to test his work is impressive, especially given the technology available when it was created. A copper and cardboard plate were engraved with 1200 conical pinholes, and the plates applied to a photographic emulsion. After the emulsion was exposed and developed, it was backlit, and through the pinholes, a 3D image was visible, and the experiment was a success.

The primary source of citations for Sokolov’s work came from Dudnikov, whose work deserves a post of its own. Unfortunately, much of the excellent work from Soviet and pre-Soviet times was and is still unavailable to Western audiences, due to geography, language, political factors, and time. However, now, in the digital age, these excuses are no longer acceptable. We have translation engines, the internet, and the days of Cold War secrecy are over. But what is further unacceptable is that some authors in the field have carelessly transposed P.P. Sokolov (his first name and patronymic are yet unknown), to A.P. Sololov, which was at one time the first Google result for P.P. Sokolov. A.P. Sokolov is a name that belongs to several Russian physicists, not the man who did the work some hundred odd years ago.

Ekaterina Avramova requested the article through the library at IATE (sometimes known as Обнинский институт атомной энергетики – филиал Федерального государственного бюджетного образовательного учреждения высшего профессионального образования «Национальный исследовательский ядерный университет «МИФИ»). Originally, the request was sent on to the Central Scientific Library, but their archives have been closed because of the desirability of their building in the very heart of Moscow (Кузнецкий мост) and now the library contents were being (are being) moved… somewhere. The order was forwarded to the Lenin Library, which delayed receipt of the article. The former Lenin Library is now called РГБ – Российская государственная библиотека.

This is a proper reference in their terms:
П.П. Соколов – Автостереоскопия и интегральная фотография по пр. Липману // Журнал Общества любителей естествознания.- 1911 – Т. 123 – с.23 (Изд-во МГУ-ПРЕСС)

The primary translation work was done by Ekaterina Avramova and the editing was done by Daniel Reetz, founder of FuturePicture. Together, we hope that you really enjoy this paper and the historical background it so beautifully illustrates, and we also hope that, with time, the record on Sokolov’s work is set straight.

Please direct any questions or comments to Daniel Reetz. d a n r e e t z ]a t[ g m a i l ]d o t[ c o m

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