The Dictionary Of Photography

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

Home | About | Photography | Contact

Thus a subject for a picture might very well be made by those possessed of the requisite accessories - an old hall, some antique clothes, etc. We will call our picture " The Ancestral Ghost"; the scene, a long passage or corridor dimly lighted, preferably by a grated window high up ; a friend, either lady or gentleman, dressed in habiliments of the last century. Now, if we have such a corridor, we can easily make the picture. A magic lantern placed outside the window, which may be real or temporary, may be used to project a beam of light on to the floor, in the path of which the lady or gentleman should stand for about one or two seconds ; the cap should be placed on the lens, and then the subject allowed to walk away, and a fairly long exposure given to the corridor. If this plate be successfully exposed and developed we shall have a somewhat thin negative of the corridor or room, with a ghostlike figure in the beam of light, and by printing deeply on ordinary albumenised paper, tinted blue or green, we shall have a very fair picture of a moonlight visitor in the shape of "the ancestral ghost." (See also Polypose and Spirit Photography.) The main point for which all our notes have been contending, and which we must not lose sight of in development, is reduction of contrast and the production of soft, harmonious negatives. The developer, therefore, should be chosen with this end in view, and either a pyro developer with a small proportion of pyro used, or else amidol or metol, directions for the use of which will be found under the various headings.
We have now reached the last stage of our hints on photo-graphy at home, and include a few hints on the faking of negatives and choice of printing processes. A rough proof should be taken from the negative as soon as perfectly dry, and the proof toned aud fixed ; we are now in a position to find faults and defects. If the shadow side of the face is too dark, it will be found advisable to coat the back of the negative with pale yellow matt varnish, or even to work on the film side with a little retouching medium and powdered graphite, manipulating with a stump. Pinholes may be easily stopped out and, if necessary, a little black speck on the film, which gives a white spot on the print, can be easily eradicated by carefully manipula-ing a needle inserted in a penholder. Of actual retouching, we do not intend to speak, further than to strongly recommend any