Art Principles In Portrait Photography

How to Apply the Highest Classic Artistic Principles to your Photography.

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black or light background with its dry dead tone is proving itself an affliction. The over-ornamented chair, stucco relief-work, simple or strongly designed draperies, are discovered to be obstacles because they enter into competition with the head or figure in seeking our attention. In studio language, we refer to them as "loud" backgrounds, and in the use of the term we give evidence of their harmful nature, for a background should recede, produce quiet, and allow prominence to a main interest.
No one will now question the statement that in Fig. 1 the assertive, restless, worrying forms of the rococo ornament are "noisy," without sense or value, and in every conceivable way destructive to the figure. There is absolutely no portrait or picture quality. The photographer doubtless reasoned thus: This woman has an elaborate gown of very rich material. I must seek to make her unusual and my only means of doing so is to employ one of a number of backgrounds that I have in stock. The one with the rococo ornament that I produce on special occasions like this I will em ploy again. It is the height of my powers of expression, in fact the background is my expression. The woman shall stand before it as a hundred others have done, the only difference will be in her pose and possibly in the angle of light under the skylight.
The barrenness of such thought is fully disclosed.