This section is from the "Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1922 " book, by Aristo Motto. Also see Amazon: Studio Light Incorporating The Aristo Eagle - The Artura Bulletin 1922 .
LESS retouching? Yes, one sees considerably less retouching of portraits today than was the case a few years ago."
"But why?" asked the old timer. "Has photography changed or has the public become less susceptible to flattery?"
"Both," we replied.
The fact is, the photographer has been doing a lot of teaching - quite unconsciously, perhaps, and the public has been learning quite a bit from motion pictures, magazine illustration, rotogravure and directly from the work of the photographer.
Diffusion in portraiture has also played a part in reducing retouching as has also proof retouching as done by many photographers. And it is a very good thing that these influences have changed the public's idea of what a finished portrait should be, for portrait photography is more truthful today than it has been since the negative made retouching possible.
People like to be flattered just as much as ever but they do not like to see the means by which flattery is produced. They do not like to see and have others see that a portrait has been, so changed that well known characteristics have been made conspicuous by their absence.
A photographer recently cited a case where it was impossible to please a woman with some wonderfully fine portraits because she had seen proofs which showed a facial blemish. It was removed, but she knew it had been there and was not satisfied. Different negatives, slightly diffused and with very slight proof retouching, were extremely satisfactory because she believed the first proofs greatly exaggerated the defect.
To look at those pictures in the old family album one would imagine grandfather didn't have more than a half dozen wrinkles, when as a matter of fact his good old face was full of them. And he didn't mind them either.
Today portraits of grandfathers are full of the character lines we have learned to love. We soften them slightly because they are never as sharp in nature as the sharp cutting lens defines them. But we leave them all in the picture and our portrait has flesh texture - it lives.
The instinct of self-preservation may lead the retoucher to be slow in giving up old ideas of retouching, but they must. go. It is far better to spread his time over a great many negatives - to proof-retouch everything, rather than over-retouch the few negatives from which prints are ordered.
Portrait Film Negative, Artura Print By 0. L. Markham Portland, Ore.
In the new generation of retouchers that is coming on it is important to teach how little retouching will do rather than how much can be done. In accomplishing this the modeling of the face will be preserved and the portrait will be full of character and it's character that really makes the portrait interesting and lifelike.