Camera Work: A Photographic Quarterly — 1905 (Heft 9)

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opens a wide field for the development of photography. Probably no one
has done more in this direction than Mr. White. His portrait-group of two
boys is a remarkably beautiful photograph. Little matter how he secured
the result; there it is, not to be gainsaid. It has the quality of a photograph
from a painting by one of the masters of composition. Moreover, by some
unaccountable means it has been given marvelous breadth and simplicity of
effect. The result is a work of rare distinction. Distinction in form and
in effect.
The picture of two children which accompanies this note of appreciation
is another notable example. The expression of timidity and hesitation on
the part of little Katherine is rendered with charming directness and certainty.
To do this requires a quick eye for character as it is revealed by the move-
ment of a hand or the poise of the figure, which is but for an instant. As I
have said, it does not matter much how Mr. White secures these results.
In art we deal with results and not with means. I have long since become
weary of learned disquisitions on the means used by this master and that.
The men who know exactly how it was done, after the fact, are numerous
and voluble. Of this we may always be sure: when there is a good shot,
some one was behind the gun.
It is not my purpose or province to analyze the methods employed to
secure these results. Nor will I dispute the limitation imposed by mechanical
or chemical means. I rather seek to emphasize the fact that an exceedingly
important part, if not the most important part, of every artist’s ability con-
sists in his power to see, to apprehend the qualities of grace, of power, of
distinction, and that this power is possessed by the subject of this sketch
and is being expressed through the means of photography with astonishing
results. We would seem to be on the borderland of development in this
respect. The various secession monuments in the field of photography in
Europe and in this country have stimulated activity and research all along
the line. It is by clashing, not always friendly, between the old and new
schools in all branches of art that progress is made. The warfare keeps the
artist’sblood in active circulation. I very well remember, we all do, when
" sharpness ” was the supreme test in photography. To-day it is a recog-
nized axiom that character, or the dominant characteristic of a person, is
vastly more dependent upon poise or action than upon definition or detail.
Every school of art has gone through these progressive stages, and photog-
raphy is proving no exception. If the difficulty presented by color can be
overcome, and the exact relationship of the various notes or values be truth-
fully rendered, another great step will have been made. The service being
rendered to this art by Mr. White and the group of men with whom he is
identified, is of incalculable value and calls for frank recognition and praise.
John W. Beatty.

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