56. To explain this point more fully, an example is given, "The Expulsion of Hagar," by G. Flink, with the pyramidal lines running through
This art of composition is a part of photography, just as it is of music or architecture, or of any other of the fine arts. It enters into the construction of the simplest picture, one view of a face, unless it is well chosen, is often of little value as a likeness. Suppose we catch a swift glimpse of a stranger's profile; it is very little wo know of his face and character until we have seen more of him. But a momentary glimpse - one look of the face - is all that a photograph likeness gives us. The moment you begin to arrange your sitter to get the most of him before the camera, you are studying the art of composition. Every change of position, every object you introduce, every hit of light and shade augments or diminishes the value of the picture. It must conform to the ancient law of variety and unity, and the more variety introduced the harder the problem of unity becomes. It seems reasonable that the study of the masters in pictorial and plastic art would be of advantage in photography as it is in the other arts. I need only suggest among the many the names of Turner and Rembrandt as great masters of composition. Tintoretto is another who has hardly an equal; hut I cannot understand why his work in any form is almost inaccessible to us. - Charles Akers.
56. Make it a constant practice, before removing the cap from the lens, to first give a rapid glance at the sitter, to see whether the outline of the figure composes well, that the light and shade are massive and round, and that there appear some indication of the expression you desire on the face of the sitter. If there is a lack of either of these qualities, do not waste your plate until you have got them before your lens. - H. P. Robinson.
An examination will show the play and variety of the outlined While a graceful outline is obtained, do d overlook, but be very careful in ar-ranging and composing, the internal lines of the composition.
57. Nothing should he considered too trivial; every part should receive a due amount of care. At times, simply the fold of a dress, or the proper position of an otherwise insignificant accessory, will put the whole picture in harmony. Ruskin, in speaking of arrangement in the smallest detail, takes notice of some leafage in the foreground of one of Turner's paintings, and says: "Unless every leaf and every visible form or subject, however small, forms a part of some harmony, it has no business in the picture. It is a necessary connection of all the forms and colors, down to the last touch, which constitutes great or inventive work, separated from all common work by an impassable gulf."
58. Also note, that whether it is a single figure or group that is being arranged, it is of great importance to have variety in the flow of the lead
In taking the portrait of a sitter, I generally decide at a glance the best point of view of the face and the kind of lighting required to suit, securing a graceful pose, and quietly making all the arrangements without hurry and bustle, keeping up a quiet conversation till the critical moment of exposing the plate. To secure a happy expression on the features of our sitters, so that their photographic counterpart shall represent animate instead of i mate beings, is the most difficult part of the portraitist's art. In this, more than any other point, is seen the difference between the works of an art - photographer and those of the merely mechanical one.
In posing avoid straight lines and right angles in the figure; and try to secure flowing line, but not to overdo it, as I have seen posing run mad of late - s itters taken in the most extraordinary attitudes. I know a photographer who, on seeing a fine posed portrait by me or any of his friends, will rush home with it and take all his sitters for a month in that pose, until a fresh idea crops up from another friend, and then, but not till then, does he give his sitters a change. This I think rather too bad, and I often tell him to manufacture his own. It is much better to invent one's own style of portraiture than to be continually copying another photographer's work. - R. Slingsby..
Variety in our work has not been sufficiently insisted on. We go on year by year in the same old grooves; we make the same old cartes and vignettes; the same front elevations of houses and public buildings. Not that we are not, fond of variety; on the contrary, we ing outlines.Take,forexample,a single figure, and suppose it to be photographed, front figure, front face.You might draw a line down the centre and find each of the halves exactly alike, symmetrical, if you choose, from being alike, but certainly not graceful Turn either the head or the figure.however slightly, giving a trifling bend or inclination to the head, and yon need not to be furnished with a drawing to; which gives the best effect. just enough of it that when you look at the picture you will not be able to tell whether it is an ear or a wart, or what it is. Now I claim that such small things should not be overlooked, no matter how good otherwise the negative may be. It will pay to make it over, for your customer will not be satisfied with such work; and how could you expect him to? The sooner photographers learn those lessons which go to make up in a large degree the success-ful photographer, the better it will be for them, and the day is coining when those cheap John's, who care nothing about good artistic positions, well-lighted and manipulated effects must of a necessity take a back seat. Our citizens are learning how to appreciate good work, therefore we must be alive to our own interest. Should you complain that your customers are leaving you, and are patronizing the larger cities, just take a good square look at yourself and your work, and see if you are not behind the times. - F. M. Wells..