This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1912" book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1912.
The successful commercial photographer must be a man of exceeding versatility and resource.
Unless he is so fortunately situated as to be able to specialize on one branch of work, he is apt to be called upon to photograph anything from a collection of ancient coins to making a panoram view from the top of a two hundred foot stack.
The commercial man must possess a practical knowledge of photographic chemistry and optics far beyond that demanded of the portrait man, and in addition the inventive skill of the mechanic combined with the eye of an artist for perspective and symmetry.
A pretty formidable list of qualifications, is it not? Yes, and in addition to this knowledge he must possess lenses of long and short focus, light filters of various colors, and a battery of cameras and shutters all ready for instant use. Next to the press photographer the commercial man leads the photographic van in the life of uncertainty. While with the exception of flashlight-ing banquets, and similar gatherings, he may not respond to many hurry calls at night, he must be ready for almost any photographic feat during the day.
As a usual thing the successful commercial photographer impatiently brushes aside the term "artist," much preferring to be termed a business man, and classing his place of business as his workshop. Nevertheless, the commercial photographer must be artistic, as even the most prosaic article of commerce appears to better advantage if photographed with regard to the artistic in surroundings and in light and shade.
Exposure and development must be as second nature to the commercial man, and his knowledge of printing processes equally good. Etching, local reduction, intensification and combination printing are all in the day's work, in fact Mr. Photographer of Commerce must be a walking encyclopedia of practical photographic lore.
And the field of endeavor of the commercial photographer is ever broadening. Modern advertising has made possible the invention and sale of thousands of utilities that must be pictured either for catalogues or for use in print form by traveling salesmen. In some instances the line of goods is too extensive and again too bulky to allow the salesman to transport them from place to place.
All these demand the skill of the photographer to present them in the best and most convincing manner. And the skill that some of the commercial photographers exhibit is almost uncanny. At a recent convention was shown in a glass covered frame, the photograph of a fine lace handkerchief, and so true was the photograph that experts were puzzled to determine whether it was the handkerchief or its photographic counterfeit they were viewing.
Composite pictures, and panoramic views so skillfully joined as to defy detection are common: the correct rendering of textures in fabrics, surfaces in woods and metals, and correct modeling from almost impossible view points are all part of the day's work.
Commercial photography is a highly profitable branch of the art, but it demands a lot in knowledge, skill and endurance.
Success in any line of work calls for accuracy, and especially in photographic work. It's poor economy to guess at weights in mixing up developer and other solutions. A young photographer was having an awful time with his negatives. They wouldn't develop in the proper time and were of a bluish color. The plates got the blame till a demonstrator called and found this man guessing at the weight of sulphite and incidentally doubling the quantity he used.