This section is from the "Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1914" book, by Sara F. T. Price. Also see Amazon: Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1914.
It's a fad - but it's a good live money making fad for the enterprising photographer.
The silhouette is having a revival of popularity on the other side of the ocean. It has reached this country and it is traveling fast.
A recent exhibition of silhouettes in New York has done much to make them popular. Many a family has its silhouette record of the family ancestry. From 1839 to 1849 the fad was exceedingly popular, but these silhouettes were cut from paper with scissors.
Photographic silhouettes are not only more simple to make but more true to life as well. And you can make them.
The public, always looking for something new, will take to this novel form of portraiture even quicker than it has done abroad, and we believe our photographers are sufficiently energetic and awake to money making opportunities to make the most of this new photographic wrinkle.
FROM AN ARTURA IRIS PRINT
Eastman Professional School Negative
Be that as it may, you have the opportunity of starting something new - of getting in at the head of the procession and developing the silhouette fad into a good bit of profitable business.
Our illustrations show only head and shoulder portraits, but full figures and conversational groups (as they were termed in the early days) are quite possible. They certainly do not require the artistic ability of the man who used only his eye, a pair of scissors and a piece of black paper - nor do the negatives require any great amount of work - just a few lines with the opaque brush, a print on Velox paper and a narrow oval frame or suitable mount completes the effect.
Sell a dozen to one customer and a dozen of his friends want silhouettes. Once you get the fad started the business will come of its own accord. The method of making silhouettes follows:
As will be seen by our diagram, a white background is placed at an angle to catch the light from an ordinary window or your side light. A framework of two opaque screens, each about five feet high and five feet long are placed parallel to one another and just far enough apart (about two feet, eight inches) to seat the subject in a small chair.
Diagram showing arrangement of operating room for making Silhouettes
Cover over the top with opaque cloth forming a tunnel inside of which the subject is placed. This tunnel should be about three feet from the light and should effectually cut off all light from the subject. The camera is placed directly in front of the subject, and the exposure made for the white ground.
FROM AN ARTURA IRIS PRINT
Unretouched Eastman Professional School Negative
A slow plate gives the best results, the Seed 23 being used for the examples shown. Enough exposure and development should be given to secure good density. The lower portion of the figure is opaqued off and the collar may also be indicated by opaquing off that portion of the negative. Regular Velox should be used for the print to secure clean whites and good solid blacks.
A slip of paper on the back of the silhouette mount printed as follows may add to the novelty: