This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1919" book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1919.
Some photographers cling religiously to their old backgrounds. They keep them in use, in fact, until those backgrounds become a sort of trade-mark on their photographs. When a customer shows her photograph to a friend, the friend at once remarks: "Taken at So-and-so's. I see he is still planting everybody in front of that old birch tree with the thunder-cloud behind it."
A good background is always a good background unless it happens to get damaged. The ground that was pictorially pleasing five years ago is no less pleasing today. The point to be remembered, however, is that the public constantly demands something new, and however successful a background may have been in its early days, it does not pay to keep it going until it has become stale in the eyes of your customers.
You can often sell or trade grounds that are in good condition, for they will be as good as new ones to the photographer in an entirely different locality. If you can not sell or exchange them, get rid of them in some other way.
We have heard of one photographer who made a clean-up of all his old backgrounds and put them to practical use. The fabric in them was perfectly good, so he used them as a wall covering for his reception room. No, he didn't leave them as they were, to be sure. They were cut in panels and wooden strips were used to join the panels. The fabric was painted a neutral tone, and that photographer now has a very desirable as well as an artistic wall covering for his reception room.
The cost of a few really good grounds is insignificant when the stimulating effect it has upon your business is considered. This stimulating effect is felt not only by yourself but by your operator and printer and everybody connected with the studio. A new ground suggests new poses and new lightings and keeps alive the desire for new ideas and freshness in your work.
When business is good, think of every possible means of keeping it good. About one-third of every picture that leaves your studio is background. Don't let this part of the picture detract from the portrait. Don't let it become a trade-mark by which your work can be recognized. Keep business good by making the very newness of your work an advertisement.
Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By M. B. Nicholson Kansas City, Mo.