During the 19th century, following the invention of the steamship, masses of travelers who wanted to see the Near East with their own eyes started flocking to the Holy Land. The pilgrims were joined by the explorer, the adventurer, the tourist, and the traveler. They wrote down the story of their journeys, leaving more than two thousand travel books.
The new invention of photography mediated the sense of being in the Holy Land for those who could not embark on the journey. In order to bring the empty landscapes to life, colorful figures that corresponded with the era’s orientalist view were incorporated in the prints. This fabricated hybrid was accepted as real documentation, since it was rooted in photography.
The stereoscope, the first medium of mass production, made the world “smaller” and offered a total virtual journey, even more so than the actual journey. This stereoscopic technique allowed the production of a vivid three-dimensional image. Using contemporary digital tools, textual and visual representations originating in visits to the region in the 19th century come to life. The images are atemporal and ahistorical, images of biblical myths as well as futuristic images, like in a sci-fi film. The line between reality and fantasy, blurred already in the early days of photography, by now has completely vanished.