This section is from the book "Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography", by J. B. Schriever. Also available from Amazon: Complete Self-Instructing Library Of Practical Photography.
The Negative. Before beginning any work upon the negative, it is of utmost importance to have a thorough understanding of the method of controlling the pencil, in order to effectively apply the proper strokes to the negative. You should also understand thoroughly what imperfections are to be removed and what effect the retouching has upon the negative. You should, further, familiarize yourself with the appearance of the negative compared with the positive.
45. Beginners usually become confused when attempting to work on the negative, forgetting that the negative is just the reverse of the positive. When speaking of highlights in the negative, we have reference to the black portions or those parts which print white on paper. In speaking of shadows in the negative, we have reference to the white portions or thin parts which print black on paper. You must try to familiarize yourself with these facts. In order to more clearly demonstrate this point carefully examine Illustrations Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6.
46. Illustration No. 3 is the exact reproduction of the negative as it appears before retouching. All of the blemishes, blotches, freckles, etc., are very much in evidence. In Illustration No. 4 is represented the same negative with all defects eliminated. It also shows how the face has been smoothed over, with the blotches filled in and built up equal to the other portions of the negative. It shows the modeling of the face with harsh lines subdued.
47. Illustration No. 5 shows a print from the nega-
tive in Illustration No. 3, before retouching. In Illustration No. 3 you will notice the spots are white. This is as they appeared in the negative, being transparent or semi-transparent. These white spots are reversed or just the opposite in the positive, for spots, freckles, pimples, etc., are usually red and reproduce black on paper, but in the negative as shown in Illustration No. 3, they are transparent and appear white. When printing from a negative with these transparent or white spots, blemishes, etc., you will observe that they become reversed, as in Illustration No. 5. The spots that are transparent in the negative (showing white in Illustration No. 3), are reversed and print black, as in Illustration No. 5, producing a very displeasing effect.
48. Illustration No. 6 shows a print from the negative shown in Illustration No. 4, completely retouched. In Illustration No. 4, which represents the negative, the black portions appear white, while the hair, eyes, mouth and shadow side of the face, are quite gray in some portions and white in other parts. In the positive, Illustration No. 6, you will see that they are reversed and these light parts are dark. Again in Illustration No. 3, the light side of the face appears very black in the negative. In Illustration No. 5, a positive from this negative, the high-lights are white and the shadows black.
49. Between these high-lights and the most dense shadows, we have what are termed intermediate tones, or, technically speaking, half-tones - tones that are less pronounced, milder, yet visible on close observation. These tones all have their value and must be preserved in their relative position to the higher lights as well as the shadows. Carefully study the illustrations above mentioned before proceeding with the actual practice work.