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.
Distorted Pictures. Sometimes distorted pictures may be improved in the copying. By means of the tilting of the swing-back the lines may be made parallel, and then by stopping down you will obtain sharp definition and overcome the distortion.
Copying Faded Pictures. Sometimes pictures that are not too badly faded, may be improved quite considerably in the copying. For instance, if the original is a portrait and the drapery is dark and partly faded away, a little black crayon applied to the portions of the drapery that are faded will help build up those portions, If the face of the portrait is considerably faded, a very light application of a little yellow ochre powder to the portion of the face which is faded will build up the face somewhat and assist in supplying some of the portions that are faded away. Where the fading is principally in the drapery, or where you do not wish to deface the original, a great deal of work may be done on the negative with an etching knife, for by scraping the film you can darken the shadows, and if this be done carefully you can outline any portions that you desire and gradually blend in with the etching knife. Where platinum paper is used, some extra work may be done on the print after it is printed.
Copying Figures From Groups. The photographer is very frequently called upon to copy one member from a group picture. In vignetting one portrait from a group we have many obstacles to contend with. Frequently the figure is in a reclining position, which looks perfectly natural while arranged in the group, but the removal of the support from this portrait gives it a different appearance. Or again, we desire to vignette a figure from a group, and find that the arms, hands, or perhaps shoulders, of another member are leaning on the figure to be copied. It is simple enough to vignette the single figure from the group, but the difficulty arises in making the reproduction so that anyone-not knowing how the picture was produced-would not recognize the altering. For work of this kind, while a great deal of doctoring and blending might be clone to the original picture, yet usually customers do not like to have their original picture defaced in any way, and under such circumstances all the work must be done on the negative, and it is equally as convenient to apply the work in that way.
498. First of all, make a negative of the particular subject from the group in the regular way; copy it to the size you desire, admitting all the surroundings, as they will do no harm. After making the negative, paint out the background with opaque, formula for which is given in Printing Notes, Vol. IV. Paint close around the head and shoulders. If the subject is reclining it should have been copied so as to appear more erect when placed by itself. This naturally will make the shoulders uneven, and when blocking out the background due allowance must be made for the raising or lowering of the shoulders, so that both will be on a line. After blocking-painting out the background-and making allowance for the shoulders, should there be any other objectionable features-such as the hands or shoulders of any other members in the view-these may be worked out by means of the etching knife and retouching pencil. If they are white spots they can be etched away with the etching knife; if they are black spots, they can be built up with Prussian blue and the retouching pencil. (For instruction in Retouching and Etching, see Vol. X.)
499. After the work is done upon the negative the objectionable portions close to the subject must be painted out with opaque, after which the negative should be placed in a printing-frame, and a vignette prepared which will blend very closely to the head and shoulders. The vignette should be covered with at least two pieces of fine tissue paper and printed in subdued light, and the print should be made on Platinum paper. After the print is made and developed you may have faint sharp lines, owing to the close blocking or painting out. The print may also show slight effects of the etching knife. All this can be altered in the print, by applying, very delicately, a little crayon sauce to the outline, and rubbing it in with the point of the finger, gradually blending it. In fact, the crayon sauce should be applied so as to blend away from the portrait, at least an inch all the way around. After you have applied all the crayon sauce necessary to give a soft blend and vignette, and have built up the drapery where required in the same way, then cut in a few lights into the background with a rubber eraser, thus supplying a little sketchy effect to the background and relieving the monotony of the vignette. For further instruction as to the manipulating of the crayon sauce and blocking the negative, etc., see Volume IV, Making Gravure Portraits.
Illustration No. 5 Copying from Groups-Reproduction from a Tintype. See Paragraph No. 500.
500. In Illustration No. 5 we show the four stages of procedure in copying from groups. In Fig. No. 1, we have a reproduction from a tintype which is pretty badly defaced. In Fig. No. 2, we have etched into the face of child, thus carrying the work to the second stage. In Fig. No. 3, we have the print blocked out with all the objectionable portions removed. In Fig. No. 4, we have the finished print.