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.
The Use Of The Plate-Rail. The plate-rail is located at a suitable height for sitting, two-third and full length standing subjects, breaking up the background and dividing up the space nicely between the top and bottom of the picture. For children's portraits it will be found the most valuable accessory in the room. A child will stand naturally by the rail, as it is of suitable height to rest the little arms, and it also serves as a convenient accessory upon which to place a simple toy or a picture. Even as a place on which to rest the hand it will frequently be found useful. So, on the whole, the room is built for many uses. Chairs of different sizes and styles are provided to suit all subjects. One corner is fitted up as a Turkish lounge, where small groups may be conveniently arranged. The drapery suspended from the picture moulding at the far end of the room permits of a large variety of very pretty background effects for full length and two-third figures. By catching and curving the drapery to one side or the other very clever head studies can be made, the curve in the drapery, with its broken lines, giving a suitable background.
667a. The accompanying illustration will give an idea of what can be accomplished under these conditions, and how each photographer can produce results bearing his own individuality, which makes his work exclusive and removes it from the commercial class.
Light Employed. The Pony Arc Lamps, manufactured by the New York Engravers' Supply Company, was the light employed in making these illustrations. With a pair of these lamps, fully timed exposures can be made in less than two seconds. The Aristo lamp may also be used in the same way, a single one being sufficient for the purpose. The Pony lamp is not as strong as the Aristo lamp, yet by using a pair of them about equal illumination is obtained and a very steady light is given, as there is no flicker whatsoever, and the cost of maintenance is very little, one carbon with constant use lasting more than a week. Both of the lamps mentioned supply violet rays of light, which is far more actinic than is apparent. With the lamps arranged according to description and as illustrated, the light docs not affect the eyes any more than an ordinary incandescent bulb.
Illustration No. 88. The Light Cabinet..
See Paragraph No. 669.
Each lamp is attached to a coiled spring-belt block. By-means of the coiled springs the lamps may be raised and lowered at will. When the single Aristo lamp is used but one arm to the standard is necessary. The upright standard is made to fit in a hollow cast iron base 2 1/2 ft. high, having a heavy flange at the bottom, which latter is bolted to a heavy wooden platform 20 x 24 x 4 inches. The platform is fitted with four heavy castors, to permit of its being moved about the room, so proper illumination can be supplied the subject no matter where he or she may be seated. One end of the electric wire cable is attached to the lamp, and the other to a plug, which may be inserted or removed at will in the socket at the side of the room. The wire is 25 ft. long, which allows the photographer unrestricted leeway in moving the cabinet about the room. A switch being supplied for each lamp makes it possible to use either one or both at the same time. Direct current should be used, and power current 220 volts will give the best results. (See Illustration No. 88.)