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Art Principles In Portrait Photography | by Otto Walter Beck



Art in photography is possible only in an extension of the methods known and in the employment of new processes to effect a manipulation of the photo-image. When the tool is made so pliable that it records more than the surface appearance of things, when the personal element enters to give life to the accurate records, the present limitations of impersonal representation are removed from photography, and its large true sphere of influence opens. Not the subject merely, but the quality attained in the treatment of the subject, will become our chief source of delight. Several methods are used at the present time to modify the lens record. In some instances the printing paper is worked upon in such a manner as to leave undeveloped the less desirable definitions of form contained in the negative. A certain resemblance to creative work results, and much beauty has often been attained, but "picture unity" and "picture expression" have rarely been reached. Certain other factors are required to produce them. If creative work is to enter into photography, it must be possible to make on the negative a line of any character and to control the light and shade with the facility of one who paints...

TitleArt Principles In Portrait Photography
AuthorOtto Walter Beck
PublisherThe Baker & Taylor Company Publishers
Year1907
Copyright1907, by The Baker & Taylor Company
AmazonArt Principles in Portrait Photography

Art Principles In Portrait Photography; Composition, Treatment Of Backgrounds, And The Processes Involved In Manipulating The Plate

by Otto Walter Beck

Instructor in Pictorial Composition, Pratt Institute; Member Architectural League of New York

New York The Baker & Taylor Company Publishers

Copyright, 1907, by The Baker & Taylor Company

Published, April, 1907

The Plimpton Press Norwood Mass. U.S.A.

To Mrs. J. B. Thresher

Frontispiece
-Preface
THE author believes that art in America cannot make its way to the people without a medium that will educate. Illustration has done its part. It is a popular art and a popular language, and its influe...
-Chapter I. Art And Photography
MODERN artists the world over, in defining art in the simplest words, agree that Art is arrangement. We may add that its study is not a matter of asking for recipes from this or that school, this or...
-Chapter II. Art Versus Nature
HISTORIES of art abound with declarations that art revivals were coincident with a return to nature. Students of drawing and painting are urged to go to nature. Our academic courses are arranged n...
-Art Versus Nature. Continued
Let us take a single blade of grass; it will give problems difficult enough for the mind. It is as much nature as any other of the innumerable waving things that make up the meadow. We have drawn it...
-Chapter III. Theory Of Spots
THE first thing that gives evidence of a desire for expression in black and white art is the placing of a dot or spot upon paper. It is a means of expression because it betrays a purpose. If to that d...
-Chapter IV. Beauty Through Spot Arrangement
THE question naturally arises: can one not see the face better when it is placed in the centre as in Fig. 18 and Fig. 32? It certainly is seen suddenly, but the mind does not remain with it, for th...
-Chapter V. Lines
TO those who have seen Van Dyck's portrait of William of Nassau in the Hermitage at St. Petersburg, reproduced in illustration 51, our rendering of the same subject in Fig. 50 must seem like a travest...
-Lines. Continued
Returning to a consideration of our photograph, we find that in Fig. 58 there is present such a maze of detail, such a conglomeration of smaller lines, that the effectiveness of the structural lines i...
-Chapter VI. Power And Force Of Lines Movement Of Lines
THE peculiar physical and mental character of an artist is a determining factor in his choice of direction in art. Some men are strongly emotional, others are distinguished as intellectual. The emotio...
-Power And Force Of Lines Movement Of Lines. Continued
In dealing with power as expressed in lines, it is our duty to consider carefully the subject before us, to analyze the lines it offers and choose out of the number one that is essentially descriptive...
-Chapter VII. The Character And Nature Of Lines
IN order to understand more fully power and force in lines when placed on a picture plane, we will analyze the nature of lines. When we have a dot, we have a perfectly stationary effect. When the ...
-The Character And Nature Of Lines. Continued
Where the oblong is crowned by a portion of the circle, we find a gentleness together with loftiness, that at once suggests a religious picture. The three panels grouped on the opposite page form a c...
-Chapter VIII. Stability
UNSCHOOLED in the laws that make pictorial art, the photographer has tried to emulate the sculptor. Forgetful that all his effects are confined to the surface of paper, he has tried to make a round th...
-Stability. Continued
Figure 106 is also deficient in stability. The figure is not held in the frame nor made to rest upon the surface. We have the feeling that the woman is swaying in the effort to balance herself upon th...
-Chapter IX. Backgrounds
PROFESSIONAL photographers may be dis-couraged when confronted with the necessity of creating backgrounds on the negative instead of buying them as hitherto in the form of screens to be placed behind ...
-Chapter X. Character In Portraiture
ABILITY to read character grows out of our interest in and sympathy for man. It is by no means confined to artists, but their intuition is usually strong and they have the ability to interpret charact...
-Chapter XI. The Foil
WITHOUT suggestion appreciation for the beau-tiful cannot come. Beauty without emotion is inconceivable. In art emotion expresses itself, as we have found, through the power, force, and movement of li...
-Chapter XII. Tone, Color
NUMEROUS as are the elements at play in a picture, they are brought into oneness by tone. Tone may be defined as the running together of well-arranged masses and spots so that their edges are a mean...
-Chapter XIII. Light And Shade
THE minute analysis of what constitutes the difference between light and dark and light and shade is necessary for two reasons. First, if pictorial art in our country is ever to attain to that dev...
-Light And Shade. Continued
To understand still better the difference between the decorative and the pictorial principles we will examine the elements that compose each. The panel A represents light and dark; all the tints ...
-Chapter XIV. Lighting
IT has been the aim of all photographers to bring about pictorial quality in their work through the agency of lighting. We have learned in our analysis of the pictures in this book that the true sphe...
-Chapter XV. Processes
THE great portrait painter of Germany, Franz von Lenbach, made it a practise to have his subjects photographed. He considered these photographs a convenience, as they gave him a record of the exact fo...
-Process No. I
It is the varying densities of the film that cause the image to appear to us, when we hold the negative to the light. Our art begins with the alterations we produce in these densities to harmonize the...
-Process No. II
It is necessary in illustration 29 to produce lights above and around the head and to re-enforce the lighting of the face. The shape of a window with landscape effect offers an excuse for these lights...









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