Guitarist for one of the most legendary bands in rock history; astrophysicist; animal rights activist; scholar of 18th-century stereographic images — Queen’s Brian May could easily be mistaken for a character out of a Jules Verne novel.
“I don’t even know what I am,” May says, chuckling at the suggestion.“I get up in the morning and I do wonder who I am.”
For now, the Queen axeman can safely be described as the co-author of “A Village Lost and Found” with photographic researcher Elena Vidal. The lovingly assembled book collects, for the first time in a century and a half, every image from photographer T.R. Williams’ “Scenes In Our Village,” an idyllic depiction of 1850s rural English life captured in three dimensions.
“There is no other document like this, one that chronicles not only a village but the people in it — their thoughts and dreams and aspirations and a whole spirituality — which I think T.R. Williams definitely felt was being threatened by the march of industrialism at the time,”?May explains. “I relate to that right now, because I think we are being destroyed as human beings by the march of what we laughingly call progress.”
Pessimistic though that may sound, May’s enormous appreciation of lifelike images — which extends from the antiquated photo-cards he collected in the book to the modern technological wonder of “Avatar” — is nothing short of childlike wonder.
“It’s just simple boyish appreciation of magic, really,” May says. “I discovered this 3-D experience when I was about 8 or 9 years old and I thought, why isn’t all photography like this? To be honest with you, I’m still thinking like that 50 years later. It’s as if by having two eyes instead of just one, you get a hundred times more information. Things leap out at you in an astonishing way.”