This section is from the "Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1918" book, by Sara F. T. Price. Also see Amazon: Studio light a magazine of information for the profession 1918.
The one big difficulty in securing satisfactory portraits of children is that you can not pose them. If left to themselves, they will assume attitudes and expressions that far surpass any conscious effect that can be secured by even the most skillful photographer. To catch these fleeting pictures - for pictures they are - has been the despair of photographers who have not been equipped with suitable apparatus for obtaining them.
It is seldom that children care whether they pose well or not. Usually they are in the studio against their will and in unusual apparel. The appearance of a strange person endeavoring to make himself violently agreeable, and disappearing at frequent intervals under a black cloth, is highly disconcerting, and it is only after the expenditure of much time and patience that the photographer is rewarded with a creditable negative.
The Home Portrait Graflex has changed all this. The photographer carries the camera in his hands. When he looks down in the focusing hood he sees the image right side up, the full size of the plate, and when the picture on the screen looks the way he wants it, a pressure on the release makes the picture - instantly. There is no time lost inserting plate holders and drawing the slide, as the plate holder is in position with the slide drawn while he is focusing his subject. The child can move about to suit itself, the operator adjusting the focus as the subject approaches, or recedes from, the camera. There is no uncertainty. The operator knows that the finished print will be an exact reproduction of the image on the focusing screen as it appeared at the time the exposure was made.
It is in the home, where the photographer has but few facilities for controlling the light, that the Home Portrait Graflex shows its wonderful efficiency in securing fully timed short exposures, and under a skylight in the studio the results are even better, as here the photographer has at hand the necessary equipment for regulating the light. Outdoor portraiture of children has proved to be a surprisingly satisfactory source of profit to Graflex operators, as there is a steadily growing demand for outdoor pictures of children at play on the lawn, in the gardens, or on verandas. The Home Portrait Graflex will make these pictures in the shade, and fast enough to prevent movement of the subject from blurring the negative.
PROJECTION ROOM OF RESEARCH LABORATORY, COMPLETELY EQUIPPED WITH PROJECTION,SPECTROSCOPIC AND PHOTOMICHROGRAPHIC APPARATUS
Photography of this kind brings the photographer close to the people who will make his best customers. It will not detract from the business in the studio on the contrary, it opens up the opportunity for making the more formal portraits under the skylight.
You can't pose children - but they will pose themselves, and the Home Portrait Graflex will get these despairingly attractive poses every time.
When the construction of the Graflex is considered, it is easy to understand why it accomplishes such satisfactory results.
An optically perfect mirror is fitted in the body of the camera, at an angle of 45 degrees to the axis of the lens. The image projected by the lens falls on this mirror and is reflected to a fine ground glass focusing screen in the top of the camera. A folding focusing hood is fitted to the top of the camera, and when looking down in this hood the image on the ground glass is seen right-side up, the full size of the negative. The mirror frame is hinged at the back, allowing the mirror to swing up out of the cone of light projected by the lens, when the exposure is made. When the mirror is down in position for focusing it prevents any light from reaching the plate or film, even though the holder slide is drawn. Upon pressing the release lever the mirror swings up out of the way, and at the same time releases the shutter. As the focusing screen in the top of the camera is in exact register with the sensitive surface of the plate or film, the image recorded on the negative will be identical with that seen on the ground glass at the instant the exposure was made. The distance to the subject is immaterial, as the operator changes the focus as he views the image on the screen. The reflecting feature removes all uncertainty regarding focus, composition, or expression.
Built into, and part of, the Home Portrait Graflex, is the Graflex Focal Plane Shutter, operating at any speed from "time" to 1/500 of a second. Except when making time exposures, this shutter allows more light to reach the plate during any given exposure than any other type of shutter.
The Home Portrait Graflex makes 5x7 negatives on plates, Portrait Film, roll film, or film packs. The back of the camera revolves from the horizontal to the vertical position, and the focusing screen shows the full-size image in either position. Another feature that makes the Home Portrait Graflex particularly valuable for portraiture is the tilting front adjustment. Upon turning a quick-acting screw on the front standard, the front of the camera moves either up or down, describing an arc. This corrects the false perspective frequently obtained in sitting figures or in groups where some of the subjects are placed in front of others. By means of this device it is possible to obtain the exact degree of diffusion necessary to secure the best effects in the draperies.
ONE OF A NUMBER OF COMPLETELY EQUIPPED LABORATORY ROOMS OF THE KODAK PARK RESEARCH LABORATORY
Long-focus lenses mean better pictures. The Home Portrait Graflex takes the 9 7/8-inch B. & L. Tessar,f.4.5, No. 17, or the 11 7/8-inch No. 18. Either of these lenses produces a large image without approaching the subject too closely, and completely avoids the unpleasantly exaggerated perspective so noticeable in pictures made with short-focus lenses.
No camera excels the Home Portrait Graflex for child portraiture, either in the home or in the studio. For all outdoor work which does not require a shutter speed exceeding 1/500 of a second, the Home Portrait Graflex will do all that any other camera will do, and more than most.