There's a photographer in your town. Eastman Kodak Co., Rochester, N.Y.

Make The Apprentice Efficient StudioLightMagazine1918 66

The Lejaren a Hiller Studios Courtesy of Harper's Bazar

The result is a serious shortage of help, and in many cases a limited output of work. If inefficient help is given the place of experienced workers and studios kept going at full capacity, the result is often a waste of material out of all proportion to production or a finished product that is not up to a standard.

It would be a decided economy for a photographer to devote a certain amount of time and material and patience to the training of assistants. The things that are obvious to the man of experience are far from obvious to the beginner. And the things you can teach a boy in a few carefully thought-out lessons would take him as many months to learn by absorbing the knowledge, as he is usually expected to do.

One of the important positions in a studio that must either be filled by an apprentice or the photographer himself compelled to do the work, is that of the dark-room man. It isn't good business for the photographer to do this work himself so long as he can employ his time to better advantage.Developing is important work, but not as difficult as the photographer who does his own work often imagines. Faults of lighting can be partially corrected by after-treatment of the negative, but they can't be corrected in developing. The apprentice can be taught to develop correctly, with a little patient training, and every plate that the photographer exposes should be developed correctly.

The place to correct mistakes is under the skylight, and the time, before the exposure is made, or while it is being made, if the photographer is prone to under or over-expose. The fact that the operator is not developing his own plates will make him more careful. He will try to make them require less after-treatment, and this is as it should be.

The best method of training an apprentice quickly involves some little care and trouble at the time, but will save much trouble later on. He should be given a practical lesson in compounding a developer. He should have it explained to him, for instance, that there are four essential ingredients: the developer or reducer, the accelerator which hastens the action of development, the preservative, and the solvent, water.And it should be further explained that the reducing agent may be one of a number, pyro being most commonly used. The accelerator is the alkali and is usually carbonate of soda. It opens the pores of the gelatine and takes a position in a photographic studio too often sees no opportunity for advancement, drops out, and another boy takes his place and permits the reducer to seek out the particles of silver that have been exposed to light and reduce or blacken them by oxidation. The preservative is usually sulphite of soda, which prevents a too rapid oxidation of the developing agent and so affects the color of the negative.

Make The Apprentice Efficient StudioLightMagazine1918 68


The Lejaren a Hiller Studios Courtesy of Hearst's Magazine

The importance of combining chemicals in the order given in formulas to insure proper chemical action should be impressed upon the pupil. All of the little things that are so obvious to the photographer of experience but not obvious to the apprentice should be carefully explained.

Actual development is best taught by experience, but the experience that would ordinarily be gained in several months or a year may be crowded into one or two lessons with very little expense in the teaching. Explain, for example, that while the silver in the emulsion is exposed only on the surface in the shadows, slightly deeper in the half-tones and quite deep in the highlights, development is fairly even over the plate to begin with. But as it proceeds, the highlights gain in density up to the point when the full range of contrast is secured and development is complete.

To explain this best you should make two slightly under-exposures exactly alike, one proper exposure and two over-exposures exactly alike.Have the apprentice develop one under, one correct and one over-exposure in the same tray or in a tank for the time for correct development. The result will be three negatives of different densities, but the contrasts in the three will be very much the same. Your pupil won't grasp this at once, but when you have your printer make a print from each of these of the same depth, the three prints will be alike. This will show that a negative must be fully developed to produce proper contrast.

Now show your pupil how to develop the two remaining plates to as nearly the same density as possible. Begin with the underexposure, and when it is fully developed place the over-exposure in the same tray and stop development when the density of the two is as nearly the same as you can judge by inspection.

The negatives will look very much alike, but when prints are made the prints will show the difference in contrast, due to the over-development of the underexposure and the under-develop-ment of the over-exposure.

This practical lesson will teach the apprentice that full development of exposures is necessary to secure negatives of correct and uniform contrasts. It can then be explained that the fully developed negative, if two dense, can readily be reduced for convenience in printing.

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The Lejaren a Hiller Studios Courtesy of Hearst's Magazine

Another important lesson can be given on the proper strength of the developer and the proper temperature. Make six correct exposures on as many plates. We will assume that five minutes is your standard time for tray development. Have your pupil develop the first plate for five minutes in a developer one-fourth normal strength, the second plate for five minutes in normal strength developer, and the third plate for five minutes in the concentrated stock solution to which no water has been added.