The Dictionary Of Photography

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

Home | About | Photography | Contact






Portraiture
of making a pretty picture with children, either singly or in groups at play, or at the swing, etc., and far greater success can be usually obtained, as the light is more even and stronger, and therefore a somewhat slow shutter may be used. The fortunate possessor of a flight of stone steps leading from the house to a drive has a capital chance of artistic composition, especially if riding hacks can also be had to order. Thus we may plant a gentleman half-way up the steps, looking into the hall of the house through the open door, or impatiently at his watch, and make a groom lead a pair of hacks up and down ; and a title such as " Impatient" or " How much Longer am I to Wait ? " tells the tale. A very pretty little study can be made from a cavalier arranging the riding habit of some fair dame, whilst a groom holds the horse. Then, again, we have the forlorn maiden watching her lover riding way, or anxiously looking for him. There are hundreds of such subjects to be found, with a little care in posing so as to conceal the art, and probably one or two failures may be met with ere success and a picture crowns the efforts. To the fortunate visitor to farmland there are subjects innumerable ready to hand ; they only want seeing, that is all; such subjects as feeding calves, poultry, etc. Then again many a homely yokel with his work-a-day smock will make an excellent subject, but too often the operators seem blinded by familiarity or false pride, never thinking that in such homely and true-to-nature pictures there is "the one touch of nature" that "makes the whole world kin."
Artificial light for portrait work -may be classed into several divisions, such as electric light, magnesium ribbon, magnesium flash, oil lamps, and gas. Electric light is the most convenient if the necessary installation is ready to hand. Magnesium ribbon requires more attention, though this has to a great extent been replaced by the flash-light. (See Flash Light.) We need not again enter into the question of posing, but merely give a few hints as to lighting. Our plan is to pose and focus the sitter, and place on one side of the sitter, which should be the shadow side, a lamp about one yard off and slightly to the front, just so as not to show on the focussing screen. We then use a pair of house-hold steps, mount these, and have some helper to remove the cap of the lens at the moment we light twelve inches of magnesium ribbon, which is waved about. The steps are placed slightly to
532