This section is from the book "Arts & Crafts Magazine Vol1-2", by Hutchinson & Company.
IN view of the creditable attempts at illumination on the ancient Gothic lines that we have noticed at recent arts and crafts exhibitions, we are not without hope of a revival, at an early date, of this grand old art. If this hope should be justified we may find room in our columns for some practical illustrated articles on the subject. In the meanwhile the following suggestions may be useful to some of our readers who are contemplating, or are actually engaged in, such work.
Keep a due proportion between the different parts; do not let the text overpower the ornaments, nor let the ornaments be dwarfed or made feeble by their background.
Let the text be so solid and square in general effect that it may control and steady the flowing lines of the decoration.
Do not allow your ornament to appear detachable from the paper, but make it and the text as one. This effect may be attained in a great degree by keeping our colours flat, pure and firm at the edges. When you are about to lay on a body of flat colour consider well what will be the effect when modified by adjacent colours.
If, after your work is clone, any portion of the colours looks dull and lifeless, sometimes it may be brightened by separating them by a firm black outline, and this will also add force to the design.
Key in Wrought Iron.
Designed and made by Messrs. Waltham & Co.
Water-Colour drawings made with moist colours should be framed as quickly as possible, or, at any rate, carefully kept away from dust. The glycerine used to keep the pigments moist in the pans and tubes renders them sticky and slow to dry on paper, and dust adheres to them and dims them.
Cut Metal Hinge And Lock-Plate.
Figs. A and B.
Hitherto we have confined our remarks to the photographing of wood-carving and wrought-iron work, subjects for which prize competitions have been arranged according to a programme sufficiently familiar now to readers of the magazine. Let us consider, this month, Architectural Photography with special reference to Cathedrals, Abbeys and Churches.
For this purpose a stand camera must be used, and we commend the use of plates rather than films - the size should be half-plate. Any good lens, of the rectilinear type, will answer; but the outfit should include a wide angle lens, and either a tele-photo lens or a tele-photo attachment which can be used with any rapid rectilinear lens. The first-named lens should be rapid in action - having a fairly large aperture - possess a flat field, give good definition and reproduce vertical and horizontal lines without distortion.
The wide-angle lens has a focal length less than the base measurement of the plate used and should include all within an angle of 90o. Judgment is needed in using these lenses, as they have a tendency to foreshorten perspective and distort the image. In architectural photography the lens must copy accurately, the beauty of the picture depending more upon the arrangement of line than contrast of light and shade.
The tele-photo lens is of modern invention, and, practically, consists of an ordinary rectilinear, or positive, lens to which has been added an attachment containing a negative lens; this materially lengthens the focus, and so it becomes a long focus lens permitting of the variation of focus at will. The magnification may be as much as eight-fold, so it will be easily understood how useful such an instrument will be to one specialising in reproductions of stone carving, such as are afforded by window tracery, gargoyles, water spouts, corbels, mouldings, pinnacles, crocketting and so forth, not to mention the wealth of detail to be found upon the west fronts of many of our cathedrals. There are restrictions in the use of the tele-photo lens, but excellent results may be obtained with a half-plate camera having an extension of 14 inches. Such an instrument should have great rigidity, long extension, rising front, firm tripod attachment, and swing back.
The question of what magnification should be used for architectural work is a difficult one, but not more than three or four fold is recommended; at the same time, if the subject is much above the level of the camera, a better effect will be obtained by taking the camera to a greater distance, and using a higher magnification.
In such work as we are considering there is no question of snap-shotting - rapid plates need not be used. The chief point, after selecting the particular sections of the buildings to be photographed, is to study the question of lighting and decide upon the best time of day when the subject will give the best photograph. Strong sunlight and heavy shadows must be avoided. The best light will be in the morning if on the north or east sides, and after midday if on the south or west sides. Select a clear and bright day when the sky is blue with fleecy, light and white clouds. These will diffuse the light. Be careful to compose the picture on the focussing screen. Use backed plates; focus at the full aperture of the lens, and then stop down, in order to secure sharpness of line. The stopping down will necessitate longer exposure, but that does not matter. For the same reason, don't be tempted to use a fast-plate. Give full exposure; it is possible to secure a good negative from a slightly over-exposed plate, but it is impossible to produce a satisfactory negative from one underexposed.
The colour of the stone is a factor that will have to be dealt with. Some kinds of stone reflect light, others absorb it. The great desideratum in architectural photography is detail and sharpness. Some-one may tell you that sharpness is not art, that diffusion (of focus gives softness. Very true, and in landscape, where we look for masses first and details last, this is an important consideration, but in the work before us there is no place for diffusion or out-of-focus photographs.
It might be well for the student photographer to restrict himself at first to, say, the south side of the building, beginning with a general view, marking it off in sections: (1) the tower, with detail of any peculiar features; the clock, sundial, battlements, belfry windows or louvres; (2) the porch, buttresses, windows, special doorways, details of roof, finials, gargoyles, crosses, gables, string courses, corbels, and so forth. Let him endeavour to obtain same particulars as to the date and special features of architectural interest of each section photographed. When he has finished his work on the south side he will follow a similar course in regard to the west front, securing details of the effigies of saints and kings, and noting particulars of transitions of architectural styles and of restorations. In this way he secures such an illustrated record as no artist's sketch-book Could supply. But everything must be done systematically, and particulars should be kept of all exposures made. If it is possible only to give a few hours a week to the actual photographing, there will still be the delightful work of developing the plates, and the printing. Use one brand of plates, one formula for devolpment, one printing process. Have all your prints uniform in size, and mount them in light, cheap albums, indexing each print and registering every negative.