This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1910" book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1910.
Portrait photography to-day is much different from portrait photography as practiced twenty years ago. Not only different but better. The portrait photographer of to-day has higher aims than merely making a good likeness of his sitter - he has studied composition and knows the good in composition from the bad.
Conventions have done much toward this advancement, for at conventions masters of the art have displayed the products of their skill and at many conventions have demonstrated their methods in lighting and posing, all of which has made it possible for those photographers in attendance to study the finished portraits as well as the methods used in producing them.
The Eastman School of Professional Photography, covering as it does an unlimited territory and carrying skilled instructors, has also helped in this progress toward correct portrait making.
Granting that this general educational work has raised the standard of portraiture, let us look to the effect produced by this progress.
First and foremost is the financial side of the proposition, for upon prices and profits the whole structure of portrait photography stands and every progressive photographer knows that what are to-day termed first-class portraits are bringing a better price than has ever before been obtained.
Second, what effect has the artistically correct portrait on pho-tography in general? The effect is most beneficial and this effect will perhaps be felt more in years to come than it is to-day. The foundation for better future conditions is laid by the high class portraits being made to-day, and to illustrate this claim we will cite a case recently coming to our attention.
A man having a little daughter four years old - a pretty little girl - was requested by a photographer friend to let him make a portrait of the little girl. The father was not particularly interested in having a picture made and the photographer explained that he was getting up a convention exhibit and would be pleased to furnish an enlarged picture of the little girl free of charge if the father would consent to the arrangement. Of course we know and you know that in most cases such a course is unnecessary, but in this case the photographer was a friend and further than that he wanted a child study to complete his exhibit and this particular child was a model to his liking.
"Well, I have no real objection to offer," said the father, "but we have several pictures and they are pretty good and probably all we'll need for a few years to come."
1910 KODAK ADVERTISING CONTEST Fifth Prize - Class A By A. F. Bradley.
"But I believe I can make just what I want for my purpose and possibly something that will please you better than anything you have," argued the photographer. "Bring her down this week and let me try."
The sitting was made and the mother who accompanied the child was not entirely pleased when the photographer insisted on photographing the child with new coat and bonnet, removed. Mother wanted a picture of that coat and bonnet, but could not insist as the picture was to be made without charge.
The result was a natural child picture in simple dress - artistically lighted and posed. The composition was good and both father and mother were greatly pleased at the lifelike portrait of the little one.
The enlargement was framed and hung in the living room - not upstairs in the back bedroom where an enlarged picture of father hung - a picture made when father was a four year old.
Why was the child picture of the father hung in a back bedroom, practically in disgrace? Why was the little girl's picture hung in the living room? The natural answer would be, because one picture was old and the other new, and perhaps that answer would hold good for a few years, but there is no reason why the boy picture should ever have been relegated to a back bedroom.
Age has never caused a picture of merit to depreciate in value and in fact it is quite the reverse. Old paintings by the masters of the brush are more valuable today than at the time they were created and the trouble with the back bedroom picture was that it was never more than a photograph of the boy dressed in the then new clothes - not a picture of the boy, but a map of his clothes, surrounding an uninteresting map of the boy's face. When the boy grew up and the clothes out of style the picture had no further charm.
The picture of the little girl is a picture of merit. The dress is so simple that it is of secondary importance, as it should be, and the pose is a natural one - a childlike pose. It is really a picture of merit and a picture that will be as good twenty years from now as it is to-day - a picture that will not lose its charm with age.
It is safe to say that when this little girl grows up she will cherish that picture and give it a choice place in her home. It will never be out of style. It is more than a photograph - it is a portrait by photography.
As a mother this little girl will seek a photographer to picture her children. Instead of the indifference to photographs in general displayed by her parents she will be interested in securing really good portraits of her little ones, and this applies to every recipient of a really good portrait for "a thing of beauty is a joy forever" and the joy thus distributed will create a desire for more joy of the same brand.
1910 KODAK ADVERTISING CONTEST First Prize-Class B By R.B. Marsh.
1910 KODAK ADVERTISING CONTEST Second Prize - Class B By Nancy Ford Cones.
Take the family album for instance and look over the old-time photographs. They are amusing and only too often ridiculous. Such pictures do not create a desire within the beholder to be photographed.
Then take a modern portrait, possibly a bust picture of a girl. The shoulders are draped - the lighting - the pose - the composition is good. Such a picture does create a desire within the beholder to be photographed.
When such pictures prevail the desire to be photographed will also be prevalent and that is why the progress of to-day will be felt in the business of to-morrow.
We, as you, are working toward this end - the making of artistic portraits. We, as you, realize that in many cases the patron insists on a photograph of a new hat instead of a portrait. This condition cannot be changed in a day, a week or a year, as a photographer must please his patrons, but every photographer should improve every opportunity to study the artistic, and whenever a patron is found who will appreciate the really good in portraiture he or she should be supplied. Every artistic portrait that leaves your studio will carry on the educational work among the people of your community toward more and better business.
Make the better class of portraits whenever possible - the kind demonstrated at conventions and at our school. It is for the good of photography and your good and will elevate photography by separating it from the commonplace in picture making.