195. The practice of retouching the negative is too general now to use any argument against it.Its legitimate object is to remove natural blemishes in the .skin, and to help to preserve the half - tones or middle-tints in the negative. But it is used to excess in many instances as to make the likeness hard to discern, and to utterly destroy the delicate work of the manipulator. There is a mechanical sort of retouching, and there is an artiste one, too. Strive always after the latter.
196. Retouching the negative consists in working upon the collodion
Retouching. I think the practice of retouching the negative a sad thing for photography. It is impossible, for even very capable artists, to rival or improve the delicate, almost mysterious, gradations of the photograph. Magnify the photographic rendering of, say, the human eye, with a strong lens, and it is found to be almost startling in its marvellous truth. Magnify the retouched image, and it will look like coarse deformity. It ceases to be true. I have sometimes seen a touched photograph which looked very nice, but it possessed no interest for me; I knew it could not be trusted. I have been charged with sophisticating photographs because I combined and masked and sunned prints. But there is a great distinction between suppressing and adding; I never added. I stopped out portions of the negative which I did not require to form my picture; I sunned down that which was obtrusive, and where one negative would not serve, I used two or more, joining them with as much truth as I could. But I never attempted to improve negatives. I never believed that I could draw better or more truly than nature. I consider a touched photograph spoiled for every purpose. - O. O. Rejlander.
There are many negatives taken that require very little, if any, retouching. The retouching-frame, however, is the best place to determine that, and consequently I take my negatives there for examination. There are three points that can be made here upon this subject: 1. Are there skin blotches that would make the print unpleasant, if left as they appear upon the negative? If there are, remove or soften them. 2. Has some unfortunate circumstance produced more or less holes in it? If so, stop them up. 8. Were you unfortunate enough to get too strong a contrast between the lights and shades? If so, blend them. These are the three principal points to be considered. - I. B. Webster.
196. The following formula I find of the best proportions:
Best Orange Shellac in flakes,................................
Carbonate of Ammonia, pure crystals,................................
Soft Water, clean,................................
. 24 ounces
Quantity when finished to be sixteen ounces.
film with pencil and color, after first securing a "tooth" or a "biting" surface for them by the application of a varnish, or by rubbing, in order to modify the image to suit the ideas of the artist and his patron as to beauty of result. It is a safe process, if the one practising it knows what it is desirable to produce. A rough proof from the untouched negative should be at hand as a guide, and the greatest care taken not to alter the likeness.
197. Those who have had no practice in this delicate department of our art, should experiment upon useless negatives until the hand becomes accustomed to giving a refined touch and the taste is educated to
Heat the water in a tin vessel, of a capacity of at least one gallon, with a convenient handle attached, to facilitate quickly removing from the fire when inclined to froth over. When near boiling, add the ammonia crystals slowly, as a fierce ebullition will take place: when nearly dissolved, add the shellac and stir rapidly to keep the shellac from running together; continue the boiling until all is dissolved, which will require about twenty minutes. Don't get impatient and throw in more ammonia, because it is not necessary, unless the shellac is allowed to run together, and the ammonia should be evaporated by long boiling; stir rapidly and boil quickly. Continue the boiling until the hot solution can be poured into a tin pint measure. The time usually required for the whole operation is half an hour. Let the solution remain in the measure until cold, say over night, when there will be a scum on top, which remove; then filter, and .it will be of the right consistency for use. Procure two wide-mouth pouring-bottles, but use no stoppers or coverings, as in removing them they will dislodge dry scales from the mouth of the bottle, which will flow upon the negative. Label them No. 1 and No. 2; the use of No. 1, first, is to avoid the dilution of No. 2, or final flow, which should be retained at a proper consistency, for retouching upon it will need an occasional filtering, and even with two bottles will in time become too much diluted, when it will be necessary to boil a little. If in boiling it becomes of a milky color, it is a sign of precipitation of the shellac. Remedy, throw in a small lump of ammonia, when it will soon assume a dark cherry color. Always flow the negative while wet. - C. M. French.
Take one ounce of turpentine and add twenty drops of balsam of fir, and you will have a retouching varnish putting benzine clean out of sight. Rub on the part you wish to retouch with a piece of cotton, then with another piece of cotton rub off" the surplus moisture, allow a moment to dry, and rub again, and a nice retouching surface will be the result. - R. W. Dawson.
197. Let us take a negative as an example. It is, in consequence of under-exposure, out of harmony; the scale of tones is broken. Now, what is wanted is to supply, with color skilfully applied, the tones missing. In the first place, then, commencing with the lights, I find there are no high-lights; the lights all over the face have spread too much, and a flat tint half across the face is all there is, where there should be at least three tints or tones. The first thing to be done is to put on the highest lights. These are upon the forehead, the Dom, and chin; these must be made two tints deeper, that is, more opaque than the surrounding parts. Next, work near these lights, gradually up to them, but still leaving them one tint higher than the color you are putting on, and, working from them, gradually blend a degree that will guard against excess. First remove the worst blemishes, and then, very carefully indeed, attack the minor ones, referring frequently to your proof.Both stippling and hatching may be used, according to your own feeling in the matter.