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.
The following article, written by a member of our advertising staff, which recently appeared in Printers' Ink - a. journal for advertisers - will demonstrate to you our faith in photographs for advertising illustrations. We are doing what we can to stimulate an interest along this line, not only by using photographs almost exclusively in our own work, but by encouraging others to do likewise and by giving them to understand that a good photograph is worth good money:
THE PHOTOGRAPH IN DISPLAY ADVERTISING ITS ADVANTAGES OVER THE PAINTING OR DRAWING FOR MAGAZINE WORK EXPERIENCE WITH DRAWINGS AND PHOTOS FOR EASTMAN ADVERTISING - PHOTOS MORE REAL THAN DRAWINGS
The old saw that photographs always tell the truth is as far from being correct as that still older one, "Figures never lie." Yet the very fact that the photograph has a reputation for veracity is a help to the honest advertiser. It helps him in the telling of a frank story; brings him in close touch with the prospective customer; is next best to showing the actual goods, just as the printed word expressed in homely language is next best to a personal interview.
Argument for the use of the photograph in showing the goods themselves is no longer necessary. The photograph has already relegated the wood cut and the line drawing to the has been. But it is still over retouched. Twice as much money to the photographer and half as much to the engraver's artist who "fixes up" the copy would mean better and more convincing illustrations.
The value of the photograph in the preparation of copy that attracts is still unappreciated. The man who has a patent churn turns to the commercial photographer for a picture of that churn, but is still likely to overlook the fact that in developing his business he might, to advantage, use the services of a professional photographer in securing a picture of an attractive girl operating that churn, pictures of the same attractive girl, with sleeves rolled up to the dimpled elbow, making the butter into prints, pictures of the same girl down at the spring house where the butter is cooling, or pictures of her giving a handful of fragrant clover to the Jersey heifer that keeps the churn busy.
If the picture attracts by its beauty, so much the better, but the first duty of an advertisement is to sell goods. If it does not accomplish that, it is a flat failure. Beautiful pictures are common enough in advertisements to-day. But some of them fail absolutely to connect with the goods. The reader looks at them, admires them, even talks about them, but never once is impressed with an idea concerning the article advertised. The picture must agreeably present a first argument, suggest an interest in the subject. It is for the ad writer to present the further arguments in cold type, but how much easier the task has been made by the pleasing picture that has put him on an easy footing with the reader.
With a photograph you show real people. As the play is more realistic than the book, so are photographs more real than paintings. They have in them the human element that we all are striving to get into our stuff. To be successful, the advertising picture must not only be attractive, but, in order to carry conviction, must be natural. In this field the photograph is supreme because it is not merely the fanciful impression of an artistic mind but an actual, real delineation of the person or things within its confines. There may still be room for argument as to whether or not photography is an art, but in my opinion its very realism gives to it a convincing, compelling, selling power far beyond that of any painting.
If thus far you have agreed with me, you are now likely to say: "Yes, and it's cheaper." And if you try photography because it is cheaper, you will soon go back to paintings. Photographs are cheaper than paintings, but pictures made by photography are not necessarily so except in so far as they may be more cheaply multiplied.
THE FAMOUS "KODAK GIRL' USED IN ADS AND THOUSANDS OF POSTERS, ETC.
We are constantly in need of pictures that suggest the pleasures that are to be derived from Kodak, or that suggest Kodak simplicity and convenience - pictures that convince and give life and reality to our advertising.
When we were using paintings and drawings for this work, we purchased pictures from the very best artists in the country, among them being such people as Frederic Remington, A. B. Frost, Charles Allan Gilbert, Jessie Wilcox Smith, Edward Penfield, T. K. Hanna, Alonzo Kim-ball and Rose Cecil O'Neill. Now that we are using photographs we propose, too, to have the very best work obtainable from the best workers, and it is a fact that we have paid more money for a single negative than we have ever paid for a painting.
The reproduction of a photograph in black and white is a simple matter - reproductions in colors are not difficult, but there are two or three important details to be looked after. First of all, such reproductions should always be by process work, never by lithography. When the reproduction is by lithography or by any other process of engraving by hand, the photographic veracity is lost. The picture is no longer photographic, but has become a drawing from a photograph and ninety-nine times out of one hundred shows that it is the stiff work of the mere copyist. By process work, on the other hand, it remains photographic at every stage so far as line is concerned. Color photography has not as yet advanced to the point where it can be depended upon, especially where live subjects are introduced, because of the long exposures necessary, but coloring photographs in a manner that will not take away
ONE OF THE PRESENT SERIES OF PHOTOGRAPH ADS
the photographic effect is by no means difficult. The simple rule is: Use transparent water colors, avoiding strong colors so that the photograph itself will show through enough to fully maintain the photographic character of the picture. In the reproduction, four colors are preferable to three, the black plate used in the four-color process seeming to hold together and emphasize the photographic character of the picture.
Perhaps a word about our own experiences and disappointments along this line will be of value. Realizing about ten years ago that the introduction of real pictures of real people would draw more attention to the witchery of Kodak than the mere publication of pictures of the cameras themselves, we secured a series of photographs of the Kodak Girl that made a decided hit. After about two years of this work we began purchasing back covers in colors as a means of still further widening the Kodak publicity. In furnishing copy we were accustomed to send the photograph to the publisher, with instructions to color it. He did. And no chromo back on the farm was ever half as bad as most of those back covers. The work was mostly in three colors and neither we nor the engraver nor the printer knew how to handle it. The girl that had been so modestly attractive in black and white, swept across the back covers of the magazines in a garish splendor that made a circus poster look like a monotone etching by Helleu in comparison. We still believed in back covers and the magazines insisted on color. So we made a right about face and bought paintings. 'Twas a decided improvement, but we still believed in photographs.