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.
527. In Illustration No. 36 we present an entirely different class of work. In this case we make a marble statue from a living subject, with all the likeness retained. In making a negative for such work, a light background is usually employed and a broad lighting is given the subject. In Illustration No. 36 is represented the four stages of the work. To begin with, the subject was arranged with the shoulders and arms bared and with the waist surrounded with soft cheese-cloth, a piece of white goods being extended over the skirt of the subject, the object of this being to supply a surface upon which to outline the pedestal. The arms, as you will observe, drop in a natural curve, giving roundness and a normal shape to the shoulders. The subject was placed in a broad light and the negative developed to a fairly good strength. The broad light and strong development overcomes a great many of the wrinkles and faults which would need altering if the negative were made in a lower key of light.
528. In beginning the work of this subject, we first started the outlining of the bust and pedestal. Previous to the outlining on the negative, however, a proof-print was made and the design crudely drawn with a pencil on the proof-print. With this done, a piece of tissue-paper was placed over the print and the outlining of the proof-print traced thereon. This transparent tissue-paper was then attached to the glass side of the negative, with the pencil side next to the glass. We next, with the point of the etching
529. Extreme care must be exercised in etching this outline, otherwise you may cut too deeply into the film. It would be better to etch scarcely far enough than to overdo it. Exactness is not entirely necessary in outlining the figure and pedestal, providing you have not etched the film too deeply. If etched too deeply the corrections will be difficult to make. With the pedestal outlined we next outlined the arms, cutting them off in equal proportions. At this stage, all that is required is a crude outline, for the arms should be given a broken appearance in imitation of a statuette, when completing this work. Of this we will speak later.
530. The next stage will be the retouching of the face and bust, remembering that the face is not to be polished the same as the pedestal. It is not as smooth and may be retouched with a heavy coarse stroke, producing a sort of coarse stipple. All lines of the neck must be eliminated. This work is done with a BB lead and the entire face and bust rounded and modeled, using either the HH or BB, or both, as the occasion requires.
531. With this done we next proceed to etch the hair. The hair and eyebrows on a statue being white instead of black, we proceed with the work of changing the hair from black to white after retouching the face and neck. The simplest way to produce this result and the one followed in making this illustration, was to make a good strong transparency from the negative, after which we proceeded to etch the hair on the transparency, following the lines, curves and folds of the hair in their natural direction. In order to preserve the folds of the hair as they naturally appeared, it was necessary to retain light shadows for the outlines of the different curves and folds, so these were allowed to remain in the positive.
532. When working on the transparency - the positive - you must bear in mind that you are working just the opposite to what you would be if etching the negative, for
wherever the film is reduced in the transparency, a highlight will be produced on the finished print; therefore, the deeper you etch the whiter those portions will appear in the print. In a negative, of course, the more you reduce the film, the stronger will be the shadow produced in the print. As the marble statues usually appear snow-white, the etching of the hair will necessarily need to be quite deep or transparent, for the deeper you etch the hair or shave the film in the positive transparency, the heavier and more dense will these portions appear in the negative which is to be made.
533. With the etching of the hair and eyebrows completed, we next make a negative from the transparency which will show the subject with white hair and eyebrows.
534. On this new negative we next proceed to work up the pedestal and break off the arms. The outline of the pedestal gives us our pattern to follow. We first shave the film gradually from each corner of the base of the bust, working lightly as we near the high-lights or front portion of the base. With this completed we proceed to the lower cap, then to the top of the pedestal, and finally to the breaking of the arms, which concludes the work of Fig. 3.
535. The next stage of procedure is the outlining of the entire subject and the supplying of the black background. The outlining is done with the point of the etching knife, outlining the entire subject, and working within a thirty-second of an inch from the figure. With the subject all outlined, we scraped away the remaining film of the background with the broad straight edge of the blade, scraping the film through to the glass. Next, in order to give softness to the outline of the subject, the curved edge of the blade was used and the film of the outline gradually blended into the figure, thus giving a soft, mellow relief, as illustrated in Fig. 4.
536. A more simple way of removing the surplus film from the background, instead of cutting the hard, dry film away with the etcher, is as follows: Having outlined the figure, the film surrounding the figure may be moistened
by applying a tuft of absorbent cotton, saturated with water, to these portions. Then, by using the etcher the film may be much easier removed. Care must be exercised, however, when this method is employed, that the water does not spread to the figure, as this would ruin it entirely.