93. I am considering the pose of my sitter and the lighting. I judge that the dark space behind will absorb or obliterate the dark side of the sitter, and I cannot well put there a light, permanent screen - that would cut him in two by its line, - so I ask my assistant to take that little white canvas screen on a stretcher and move it behind the figure while I yet have of chiaro-scuro, or rather to illustrate the same. When the light part of the comosition ie placed upon the dark side of the background, and the dark part upon the light side, greater firmness and solidity are produced, and a more equal balance is kept up. The contrary method has more breadth and softness of effect, but there is danger of the picture being flat In a single bead, as we often have but one light, it is there fore necessary to get it to harmonise with the shadow, either in the background or upon the dress. This you may secure by throwing your light on your side - screen in a way that the drapery will be lighted about the same as the shadow side of the face.When the principal light is kept at one side, there is an opportunity of introducing a larger portion of shadow than when the light is in the centre, which is often of much consequence. Our object in photography should be to get neither to strong light nor too shadows. Both are repulsive and both are equally inartistic, Modulation in all proper places, in quantity to suit oircumstances, is the best, and should always be sought after. 94. The adoption of s purpose, and the striving to attain it, hae been advised. " To form the purpose Is one thing you remark, "and to ac-oomplish it is another." Very true; yet a photographer has more under control in his studio than he sometimes imagines.He sees the work of others superior to his own. The lighting of the figures seems to strike him as the main source of beauty, - and truly so, perhaps, - and he forthmy plate in the bath. I now look into the camera, and as be moves it at the rate of two or three vibrations in a second, I direct him: "A little higher;" "a little further back;" " there now;" " a little lower;" and so forth, just as I imagine the light should be, accord-ing to the outline of my sitter. When I am satisfied with the light, I make my assistant notice how far he has extended the screen forward and upward. I now insert the plate, and expose the figure with the full, dark background behind him, but only for a moiety of the time I Intend for the full exposure; then I cap the lens for an instant, while my assistant takes the place to which I had schooled him. He then commences to move the screen in the proper, when I again uncap the lens and complete the required exposure. It was in the way here described I took the well-known portrait of my friend Gustave Dore
From the movement, the outline of the white screen is entirely lost, and it gives a beautiful graduated effect. Even when you want an entirely light background, it is better to expose at first for a short time with the dark ground, afterward inserting a light ground; for a face taken in the way is finer than when a uniformly light ground is used throughout. -
O. G. Rejlander.
94. Now this admired, hut certainly not admirable, softness is a totally different quality to gradation, for which it is sometimes mistaken, just as adulteration may be sometimes nearly undistinguishable from purity, except to the taste of the adept. Softness is that sort with proceeds to tear out and rebuild his glass-room, all the while having it in his power to secure the same results without the expense and trouble of alteration, if he but use what brains he may have in applying himself to the work. His light may be the same precisely as that of his more successful and skilful neighbor, but he cannot produce as good effects, for the reason that he has an idea it is "all in the light," or in some "secret formula"' unknown to him. He can produce pictures, black and white, such as have been described, or he can, by covering up his defects by the application of the "patent mezzotint" or "softness" dodge, secure prints fuzzy, feathery, flat, and feeble, entirely void of force and vigor. But neither of these are what you should make the effort to produce.
95. Study and imitate the works of others. Do not be confined to those of photography, however. There is much, very much, outside of them worthy of study, in the multitude of engravings and drawings to be seen or had almost anywhere. Some of the grandest studies of light and shade are to be found in the engravings in old books to be had at the book-stands. The habit of studying such is a very laudable one, and will repay for the time it takes. It is a good plan, too, to collect a series of engraved portraits from the paintings of many of the old mast copy them, and mount photographs of them all on one board. These can be studied with great benefit, and will be found to aid much in managing the chiaro-oscuro of your pictures.
As in photographic manipulations a photographer should not only know that certain combinations of chemicals produce certain results, but why they do so, so in studying and finding out the beauties of the work of of muddled effect that has no high-lights nor brilliant touches of black, as though the photographer was afraid of the wide gamut of light and shade afforded him by his art, and could only venture to play a few notes in the middle of the scale - a sort of dull pictorial mud, without life or pluck. O. G. Rejlander.
96. Sir Joshua Reynolds has truly said: "The great use of studying our predecessors is pen the mind, to shorten our labor, and to give us the result of the selection made by those great minds of what is grand or beautiful in nature; her rich stores are all spread out before us; but it is an art, and no easy art, to know how or what to choose, and how to obtain and secure the object of our choice. Thus the highest beauty of form must be taken from nature, but it is an art of long deduction and great experience to know how to find it. "We must not content ourselves with merely admiring and relishing; we must enter into the principles on which the work is wrought; they do not swim on the surfaces, and consequently are not open to superficial observers." others be sholud be able to tell why and such beauties happen to exist. This taxes his knowledge, his taste, and his inventive genius, and is capital. The true photographer is not content, either, with the quiet acknowledgment of the superiority of' the works of others over his own. He finds out by thought and experiment how the perspective is secured, how the composition is arranged, how the light is disposed, and all the purpose of the artist in making the pictures. He looks and studies until he has a good, distinct idea of what makes any picture beautiful, and with the means at hand endeavors to imitate the good and overcome the objectionable.