Recently I received another example of a Move-O-Graph portrait from David Brook, depicting his father Archibald Brook (1888-1967). It was probably taken in the late 1910s or early 1920s. The mechanism, which from Tony Rackstraw's description appears to consist of two layers, has survived intact. The lower layer consists of a composite photographic image made from two distinct views, and the second is a covering "filter" of cellulose with very narrow vertical black strips. The "movement" effect is created by the gaps between these strips alternately revealing first one image and then the other, as the filter is moved slightly from side to side.
The reverse of the card which encases the photograph has printed instructions for achieving the full effect. The pencilled "530a Oxford Street" was added by the subject at some stage.
I've used images sent to me by David in an attempt to recreate this "movement" digitally using an animated GIF. The effect is a little unnerving, and David ensures me the original is even more so.
To be honest, I can't imagine why a perfectly good-looking gentleman like Archibald Brook, pictured in a more conventional portrait at around the same time above, might want to preserve his features in such a manner. None of the examples I've seen so far - and several more have appeared on the net since my last article - have been very flattering, and I would even be bold enough to say that most are positively bizarre. I'm not particularly suprised that the format apparently never lasted more than a few years.
If you have a Move-O-Graph that produces a pleasant effect - I would even settle for somewhat comical - please get in touch so we can share it. For the moment, I'm adding this one to my newly created "What were they thinking?" category.