IN THE FIRST room of the Lartigue exhibition at the Hayward Gallery in London, there is a wall of peep-hole viewers through which one can study some of Jacques- Henri Lartigue's stereoscopic photographs, taken in the early 1900s. The quality of the glass plates is astonishingly clear, and the images displayed have an immediacy that makes one long to see more. In one double-frame, there is the imprint in flesh snow of a figure stretched out - no doubt a fall engineered by the teenage photographer. In another, there is a scene of several men sitting smoking at a dining table, in which the 3-D effect, with several layers of cigarette and pipe smoke clearly evident, seems as modern as in any digitally produced picture.
Lartigue's work was virtually unknown until the 1960s, when he was given his first one-man show, in New York, at the Museum of Modern Art. By then he was nearly seventy. In the last twenty years of his life (he died in 1986) he continued to work;