The Dictionary Of Photography

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

Home | About | Photography | Contact






Portraiture
eyes. It is no uncommon thing to see a rather fine large head, with good gradation and modelling, facing a point slightly to one side of the camera, probably about six inches from the lens, whereas the eyes are directed to a point at least three times that distance from the camera. In other cases the eyes are elevated too much. A very good plan is to place a decent-sized mirror in front of the sitters, and allow them to look at themselves in • that, when, as a rule with sitters of mature age and sound judgment, it is by no means a difficult operation for them to so command the facial muscles as to put on a pleasing look when they can see themselves. The old formula of " Wet your lips and look pleasant, please" has almost disappeared, simultaneously with the habit of the operator turning his back on the sitter. There is a talev the veracity of which, however, we will not vouch for, that a tintype worker used to draw on the once white-washed, wall of his studio, and tell his visitors to "look at that and look pleasant,'' possibly a difficult matter. We have per-sonally, however, worked in a studio where it was customary to tell sitters to look at a little gaudily-painted box, and at the . same moment as the lens shutter was raised, a little Jack-in-the-box sprung up and " put his thumb unto his nose and stretched his fingers out." The effect of this on the sitters was marvellous; in some a genuine home-made Cheshire grin appeared, in others the jaw dropped in surprise, in juveniles the eyes extended; so finally poor Jack was relegated to the shelf, as these results were by no means artistic. It is far better to use merely a looking-glass ; some writers use a picture, others have recommended a clock, etc. Whatever is used, however, let it be a fair size, and tell your sitter not to be afraid, but to blink his or her eyes as usual, and not to fix them in a steady glare, as though trying to freeze somebody. Above all things, let your sitters be natural. If a lady, give her a piece of needlework, and tell her to work at it, then drop it in her lap, and look up as though going tD speak. For young ladies a doll, animate or inanimate, may be of use ; in the former case, however, it is preferable to have one that will sleep - some won't, or at least we have come to that conclusion. For a gentleman, give him a stick, cigarette, cigar, or pipe, or let him stand by a table on which lie hat, gloves, and stick, and tell him to begin to pick them up. For smaller boys, a top or game may be utilised. Who does not know Rejlander's picture, " The
529                                MM