369. Now, good fellows, everything must end, and this work must go the way of all things - it must end. All through I have endeavored to drop myself as much as possible and make the earnest ones of my co-laborers help me in these lessons in every possible way, giving them a hand in educating those humble enough to be willing to learn something. I feel entitled to address you familiarly, because many of you who will read what I have prepared, have borne with me for nearly eighteen years, and have learned to endure and be good to me. Again, I feel a little free, because my labor of months is nearly ended, a great weight is already slipping from my shoulders. I have left the library and the note-book and the shears and the parlor paste and the printer and the desk and have come down to the margin of the murmuring, never-resting sea, to give a
369. But I return to my point, of cheapness. You do not think that it would be convenient, or even creditable, for women to wash the doorsteps or dish the dinners in lace gowns? Nay, even for the most ladylike occupations - reading, or writing, or playing with her children - do you think a lace gown, or even a lace collar, so great an advantage or dignity to a woman? If you think of it, you will find the whole value of lace, as a possession, depends on the fact of its having a beauty which has been the reward of industry and attention. That the thing itself is a prize - a thing which everybody cannot have. That it proves by the look of it, the ability of its maker; that it proves by the rarity of it, the dignity of its wearer - either that she has been so industrious as to save money, which can buy, say, a piece of jewelry of gold tissue, or of fine lace - or else, that she is a noble person, to whom her neighbors concede, as an honor, the privilege of wearing finer dress than they. If they all choose to have lace, too - if it ceases to be a prize - it becomes, does it not, only a cobweb? The real good of a piece of lace, then, you will find is, that it should show, first, that the designer of it had a pretty fancy; next, that the maker of it had fine fingers; lastly, that the wearer of it has worthiness, or dignity enough to obtain what is difficult to obtain, and common sense enough not to wear it on all occasions. - John Ruskin.
It is an uncomfortable fact, that a wide-spread opposition against methods of education of photographers is felt in the ranks of those serving them with their supplies, and that this same feeling is met with to a considerable extent in the profession itself. Any one with enthusiasm enough to show a desire to raise higher the standard of our art-science is frowned upon, and thought to be more an enemy than a friend. Why it is so, is one of ( 344) tried brain a day of rest, which I promised it when I began. I have brought with me only a few sheets of paper, a stylographic pen, and the notes 3 -6-9 -, and when I make place for them my labor is ended.
Will my work serve you a good purpose? Will it help bear photography up, and up, and up? As I sit here on the beach, I see the wild waves come up in hold platoons, hissing and roaring and dashing at my feet, and burrowing and tearing to ruins the sandy piles which, but a moment ago, 1 had made into picturesque compositions, taking much away with them as they depart again, but leaving some little for me to start a fresh ideal upon. And as I sit upon a spar of the old wreck which lies stranded away out there among the breakers (how bravely it stands their continuous shock), I dream over the endlessness of the work there is to do, and a messenger seems to come and hail me like a companion on a journey with words of good cheer. I am bidden to remember that my work will bear no iller fate than the sandy pictures bore. The waves of opinion, I am assured, will come up against it, and batter it to pieces and carry much of it out to sea, but it is true, same of it will remain to give pleasure and profit to less sentimental picture composers than I appear to be now. Always? I ask. And the answer comes," Yes!" So then, good fellows again, with this hope, a few words more and then those incomprehensible figures that meet us from time to time in our life experience, and we guess in vain as to the use of their being. If it were not for a certain element of enthusiasm found in all of life's concerns, the wheel of progress would be blocked. As an outgrowth of the enthusiastic element permeating the profession of photography, a few earnest souls have laid the foundation of a great educational institute, and unaided bear the expense of opening up for those who are seeking knowledge in photography, both the practice and theory, a place where it can be obtained at small cost. It certainly holds out little inducement for pecuniary gain, and must be viewed in the light of higher motives; still, 110 reason exists why the promoters of this noble enterprise should not meet a fitting reward for their labor. The Chicago College of Photography has the proud distinction of being the first institution of the kind planted in America, and the second in the world. It promises rich returns to those who are deciding upon adopting photography for their life-work. It offers through competent instructors a practical knowledge of the art-science, and places the student, in a most thorough manner, in possession of the best methods at a small item of cost. It also serves to weed out incompetent help, for those wanting assistants will find in the graduates of this college a service that is of the best, the expense of educating having been paid by the employed, releasing them of the expense and annoyance of experimental and incompetent help. It will also take the photographer who may seek the advantage of learning the latest methods, or who desires to perfect some special branch, and for a small sum furnish the required knowledge. The arts, sciences, and various industries, which more and more are calling upon photography for assistance, will find in the college a ready means of giving them the knowledge they desire. - Gayton A. Douglass. 23
I am done. I have humbly tried, and earnestly, to instruct you how to become good photographers. After you have become such, and enter the art for a livelihood, there are a few things that must be exercised continuously by you. Do everything to educate yourself - to keep alongside, at leas - and to promote the education of the fraternity. Help our college to grow; encourage reading and the study of the writings pertaining to the art; maintain your dignity and standing with your patrons; ask good prices, and despise all that is cheap and bad. A real good photograph should show that the photographer who made it was educated in all the intricacies and technicalities of his art. It should tell, moreover, that his helpers worked in harmony with him, and show in their work, too, the mind of the controlling head. It should be proof positive that the model has had full justice done to her charms, and that she possessed good sense enough to get and pay for the very best of pictures. I now yield the last words to three earnest friends of our art, and please to heed them. May photography ever be honored by us all.
The relations of the photographer to the public, and vice verm, I consider, and always have considered, to he purely mutual, from an artistic standpoint as well as from the business standpoint; and as we all have to live on and by what we do, the latter standpoint is the one a little stronger appealing to our consideration. In regard to the former, the artistic standpoint, I take it as granted that every one of us works as conscientiously and carefully as his abilities will admit him to do; but regarding the latter, why do we hear so many complain about - I will not exactly say bad business - but of low prices? Do not low prices in almost every locality predominate ? and is it a stimulant for earnest workers in our vocation to go and offer to the public continually the fruits of their brains and talents at sham prices? Where do you think this will lead to? This leads unavoidably to self-degradation. And this brings me to the very point in which I would say the relations of the photographer to the public are misunderstood. You have lost your self-respect, and the public mean to do with you as they please, and not as you should do; for in your house and business your rules must stand, and you must abide by them, or you must bear the consequences - fall, and lose the so very necessary respect of the community. The words, " Guard your dignity! " have so often been printed in our photographic journals, - words full of good, very good advice. This is another point where the relation of the photographer to the public is seriously implied; but how many have heeded this advice? If you wish to be respected, make the public respect you for everything that you say, do, or they see about you. Be firm in what you transact with your patrons. If you say " Yes," be it yes, and if " No," be it no; in short, have strict rules for the transaction of your business, and adhere to them without faltering. Now if such rules were to be introduced more energetically in the photographic business, there would be far less complaint on the part of the photographers of losing the esteem of their patrons; for you will probably all admit that a man that stands boldly up for his principles stands a better chance to gain respect and confidence with his patrons than one who totters and trembles for fear of losing a dollar, and for that reason gives way to making all kinds of concessions - H. Rocher.