Some photographers, not content with exercising straightforward personal ingenuity, make a practice of employing all sorts of dubious technical gadgets, such as: Rumford's Photometer, Theodolites, Anamorphosis, Megascopes, Algebra, The Law of Diminishing Returns and Artificial Discrimination. Although some of the phenomena mentioned here are not essential to the beginner I thought it would be a good idea, in order that the reader may be aware of the kind of thing that is going on behind his (or her - Ed.) back, to include a few details of some of these pretentious devices.

Rumford's Photometer.

Rumford's Photometer.

Amongst other things, this instrument is sometimes used to prove that, when light is thrown on a dull subject (as in this book) the angle of ignorance is always equal to the angle of reflection. To use it purely as an anagram machine - as above - is hardly cricket.

Firstly, we have Rumford's Photometer which is, as you can see, a complicated piece of paraphanalia based on the simple fact mat if shadows thrown on the same screen by an opaque body illuminated by two different lights have the same intensity, the illuminating powers of the two lights are equal, if they are at the same distance from the screen, or are in inverse ratio of the squares of these distances, if they are at unequal distances. Next we come to the Theodolite, the principle of which is made only too clear in the accompanying illustration.

Stargazer's Theodolite.

Stargazer's Theodolite.

This attractive little set up has all the naive charm of the Wims-hurst machine, without any of the shocking implications. It is fortunate that the principles it is supposed to demonstrate are so unimportant that the lecturer can soon get down to the more serious business of projecting double-headed rabbits on the screen - using only two fingers and a thumb.

Anamorphosis is, as one would expect, the opposite to what happens to Butterflies when they emerge from the chrysalis.

The Megascope consists of a dark chamber used for the purpose of reproducing an object on a large scale. It would seem that models for this type of work are drawn almost exclusively from the Fakir class, since, in order to reach the posing-platform, a working knowledge of the Indian Rope-Trick is patently required.

The Megascope.

The Megascope. This instrument has the happy knack of turning a subject upside down without disturbing the drapery. For those who hate the usual tomboy tricks of the studio and prefer to work quietly in the dark, what could be nicer?

Unusual-Viewpoint Photography

It is refreshing, after all the foregoing examples of misapplied ingenuity, to get right back to a few modestly practical ideas of my own; ideas, I may say, in which the brain, rather than complicated paraphanalia, is the motor force. As a demonstration of the way in which quite simple means can be utilized to attain worthy ends I refer the reader to the illustration on page 62, which shows a lively scene at a The Dansant taken through the glass bottom of a pewter pot: if I remember rightly the pot contained about half a litre of old-and-bock at the time.

Photograph of a The Dansant taken through the bottom of a pewter tankard.

Photograph of a The Dansant taken through the bottom of a pewter tankard.

Instantaneous Photography. An exciting climax caught by the camera at Mask . . . (pardon!) a well-known illusionist's.

Instantaneous Photography

This branch of photographic endeavour calls for nimble fingers and a watchful eye: with these attributes, a hand-camera, and the co-operation of the management almost anyone can take pictures which recall with dramatic intensity those never-to-be-forgotten moments of vaudeville, burlesque, symphony concerts and real life. I can honestly say that my shot of "Sawing the Lady in Half" has done as much as anything else to put this exhilarating pastime on the map. {See chapter "Moving Objects").


This aberration has not, as is commonly supposed, anything to do with Buddhism; but on the now established principle that "Boy Bites Dog" is news, whereas "Dog Bites Boy" is not, one is surely entitled to take a few pictorial liberties. It is partly because Transposed-Subject photography is to some extent indicative of the new spirit of healthy scepticism, that is sweeping through the darkrooms of to-day, and partly because it isn't, that I propose to deal with it at some length. Who has not, in moments of searing vision, ennui, or pique, itched to upset - even if only pictorially - some of the humdrum, established situations of History, Science, Art, Entymology and Domestic Relations? For instance, one cannot fail to get a little blase about "Pharaoh's Daughter Finding Moses in the Bulrushes"... so why not reverse the situation and introduce new trains of thought by portraying "Moses Finding Pharaoh's Daughter" in similarly wild surroundings, as I have done in my photopicture on page 65. Naturally, one sometimes makes mistakes ! . . . and although at first I considered "Two Bicycle Maids" {see photograph on page 64) to be ethically superior to a "Bicycle Made for Two," I was quick to agree with critics who pointed out that a young woman brazen enough to smoke - even on a bicycle and in the comparative seclusion of a wood - was more likely to be a hussey than a maid. However, the truly enthusiastic photographer soon learns to take bloomers of this sort in his stride.


Transposition. Yet another vivid example of this fascinating art. My "Two Bicycle Maids" has a purer, sweeter significance than "A Bicycle Made for Two *' could ever have.


Transposition. Here we have a clever variation of a hackneyed theme. My photopicture "Moses Finding Pharao',s Daughter in the Bulrushes" is such an obvious improvement on the original that it would be pointless to dwell on it . . . or would it?


From ships-in-bottles to people-in-bottles is but a short step to the enterprising photographer. From the first it is well to realise that some subjects are bottled more easily than others; careful initial choice can obviate a lot of useless effort. The following illustrations serve better than a spate of words to explain what I mean. In the top picture the subject is easily and comfortably accommodated by quite an ordinary type of bottle and she looks relaxed and pleased with both herself and her surroundings; whereas, in the bottom right-hand picture, despite a certain attitude of defiance and a rather unusually shaped bottle, the subject is obviously ill at ease and bursting to escape from it all. The other little girl looks happy enough, but the bottle she is in cost more money than, in my opinion, the result was worth. In conclusion I would suggest that subjects for bottling should be acquired nett (top), rather than gross (bottom, right).