The Dictionary Of Photography

A True Historic Record Of The Art & Practice Of Photography 100 Years Ago.

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knowledge of what the lens will do, and considerable artistic skill and ability. It is impossible to give complete directions for the successful working of this branch of photography, but some hints may possibly be gained from the following notes. One of the most important of all accessories for home portraiture is the background. Nothing is so painful as to see a fine head spoilt by some not always artistic wall paper, which is generally so sharply focussed that one may count every petal on some impos-sible flower, or see joins and irregularities in the said paper. If we want to turn out artistic work, wall papers must be avoided as a rule ; rarely do the patterns lend themselves for use as back-grounds, and even when they do they should be thrown out of focus so as to become mere suggestions rather than concrete shapes. There are of course portable backgrounds to be obtained commercially, of perfect quality, and at such a price as to bring them within the reach of all. But many of us have a great hankering after home-made contrivances, and the few hints we may give may be of service to those handy with carpenter's tools. The first background we ever used was the so-called felt paper or wide brown paper, as used under carpets ; this may be obtained from almost any house furnishers, about six feet wide and any length. Having obtained the paper, the next question is how to mount it. For this purpose procure an ordinary blind roller of the requisite length, and fold down six inches of the paper at one end, and, having some thin glue ready, coat the turned down portion of the paper with the glue, place the roller under the fold, and dab quickly into contact with a cloth. It is obvious that we mean the underneath side of the turned down strip is to be glued, the turning down being merely a device to obtain the paper straight on the roller, otherwise we may get some nasty bulges in the background. When the glue is dry, a sufficient length of the paper may be cut off, and a lath glued into it in the same way as the roller. About eight feet will be found a convenient length, and we have thus a background six feet by eight feet of one uniform tint. This will serve its purpose well, and may be rolled up and stowed away in some convenient corner when done with. A more durable back-ground may be made of the materials used for blinds, and with this we can obtain two or three backgrounds without much expense. Thus we may choose a pale buff, which will give us