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.
Now to get down to "brass tacks" it's a man's ability and workmanship that build his business. Without ability on the part of the photographer, the best photographic materials are helpless, and artistic salable pictures are impossible.
To start at the beginning we will go into the skylight with the sitter and operator. Here is where the real work is done.
The skilled operator successfully poses and lights his subject. The unskilled operator makes his failure right then and there.
All that the best plate can do is to register the pose, lights and shadows as it finds them when the shutter is opened.
All that the best paper can do is to register the pose, lights and shadows as it finds them in the negative.
Technical skill in giving the plate just the proper exposure and development and correct handling of the prints are of no avail in producing a pleasing picture unless the posing of the subject under the light is done as it should be.
The camera sees things as you place them and it's up to you to place them right.
The difference between the successful photographer and the unsuccessful one is ability plus energy.
Quality of chemicals, plates and paper are not a secondary consideration. This statement is proven by the fact that inferior materials are never used by the better photographers. Photographic materials of reliable and high-grade quality are most valuable assistants to the high-class studio. The plate must have speed, latitude and gradation. The paper must be capable of rendering every gradation of the negative truthfully, and in addition it must be of a surface and tone that meets with the approval of the customer.
Getting down to more "brass tacks" the paper is what the customer sees, pays for and carries away with him, and all that he is interested in is the prints - not the process or processes used from start to finish to produce them.
The better photographers differ as to printing mediums just as artists differ in the mediums they use to execute their pictures. Some of them use collision printing-out paper, others gelatine developing paper or platinum. Some artists use oils, others water color or pastel. The result in all cases is a picture equal to the ability of the man who makes it.
The skilled and successful artist selects the support and colors for his pictures with great care just as the skilled and successful photographer selects his plates, papers and chemicals.
It is quality of material combined with skill that shows in the finished pictures, and it would be as reasonable to say that water colors or oils put an artist out of business, as to say that the developing or printing-out process put a photographer out of business.
The process is a matter of choice, but remember that what-ever process is used, quality counts and only the best materials should be used.