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.
Lighting. The light for photographing these subjects in interiors is usually soft and diffused, and in order to accentuate the high-lights and shadows the principal light should, in a manner, fall across the figure at an angle - never directly in front of it. This is especially necessary when the statue is of nearly one color - marble or cream color - for a broad front light on a light colored statue, especially if you have white walls for a background, will give very flat effects, with no depth to the shadows. Therefore, whenever possible, the light should fall on the subject so as to cast slight shadows in the little wrinkles and folds which usually appear in the drapery portions. The direction of light, however, will usually depend upon the local conditions under which you are working.
194. If your subject is not properly located so you may take advantage of daylight, perhaps it will be necessary for you to employ artificial light, such as flashlight powder; or flashlight may be used in connection with daylight. This will be found especially advantageous when front light alone can be had. By making part of the exposure by daylight and then igniting a light charge of flashlight a trifle to one side of the figure, high-lights and shadows will be supplied, thus giving snap to the resulting picture.
Exposure. Statuary is usually white, but sometimes surrounded by dark objects, making it difficult for one to judge the correct exposure. While the statue is the principal object, yet some attention must be paid to the surroundings, as it would mar the general appearance to have a meaningless amount of flat, lifeless shadows. Under such conditions it is best to give a little longer exposure than is necessary for the statue, and the excess exposure on this part will supply sufficient detail in the dark background. The exact amount of exposure to give the subject will depend entirely upon the prevailing conditions.
196. Lengthy exposures are usually required, owing to the non-actinic color of the surroundings. Many times you will find excellent examples of carving, and other details, in crypts or other dark places, where very little or no daylight reaches, and for such a contingency a coil of magnesium ribbon may be employed very successfully. The exposure should be made by burning a length of magnesium on each side of the subject, to give modeling - one length being twice as long as the other. Care should be taken to shield the lens from all direct rays of the light. The amount to be used to give correct exposure will vary with the color of the object, and also the distance of the subject from the camera.
Obtain Special Permission. It is advisable, when working in public places, to obtain special permission to use flashlight or any artificial illumination, which as a rule, is easily obtained.
199. In Illustration No. 49 we have quite a light background, and all the light coming from the side accentuates the shadows in the folds of drapery, thus giving them depth and supplying general roundness and relief. In Illustration No. 50 we have a medium dark background, with all the illumination coming from one side, but entering the room at some distance from the subject, thus making a lengthy exposure necessary. The side lighting, as you will observe, gives strength and boldness to the figure. Sufficient background for the statue is admitted to give one a good impression of the general surroundings. The pillars in the background while massive in themselves, are yet a part of the picture.
Photo by T. E. Dillon
Illustration No. 50
Statuary See Paragraph 192
Fig. A. Use of Normal Angle Lens
Fig. B. Use of Wide-Angle Iens
Illustration No. 51
See Paragraph 206