Studio: international art — 3.1894

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The Use of a Single Lens in Portraiture

dark embossed leather with an appropriate design,
and fastened with fifteenth-century thongs, filled
with hand-made blank paper. In this the possessor
is to write the family history, as it occurs. Many

of us would give a good deal to possess such a
record kept by our parents, which would enable
us to realise the life they lived and the spirit of
their times.

One may add that the artist whose works are
figured here is devoted to his craft, and has intense
faith in its arousing a great interest in London,
where very little leather work is to be found, and
that little mostly the work of amateurs, not of
those who have made it a profession. His hope
is to establish a really thriving industry in this
country such as exists in his own : and we shall
watch his progress with interest. The illustrations
reproduced include a book-cover, specially de-
signed for Mrs. Alma-Tadema, and several exam-
ples of the various articles referred to as peculiarly
suited for this decoration. With one exception
these have been made from pen-drawings by the
artist, which, although they preserve the character
of the design with sharper definition on the reduced
scale, necessitated by the available space, do not
suggest the contrast of slightly varied planes, which
in leather work, as in other forms of bas-relief, im-
parts the chief value to the work.

F. Kruekl.



There is, perhaps, more real difficulty in pro-
ducing an artistic portrait with the camera than in
any other effort to which the attention of a photo-
grapher may be directed—the subtleties of expres-
sion, the play of light upon face and hair, the
changes which every moment occur in the pose, all
point to the fact that " a good portrait taken with
the camera is really the result of a dozen or so
happy accidents." In portrait photography there
are so many things almost beyond the control of
the worker, which contribute to the perfect result
and without which no result can be perfect—he
may possess the finest lens and cameras and
plates, he may be fully the master of the great
question of light and shade (so important to the
photographer who has to interpret the wealth and
glory of Nature's colouring into the narrow limits
of black and white), he may be fortunate in his
pose and render every line with its true softness,
and yet the result of his work may be simply a
diagram or map of a face without feeling or life.

Any skilled painter-artist will admit that to
have a picture simply correct in drawtng, is not
enough to ensure its being a likeness; or a glance
at the work of an artist like Harry Furniss will at
once show that the likeness is often most strikingly
kept when there arc many noticeable incorrections
in the drawing. I have prefaced my remarks
upon the use of a special form of lens in this way
simply to show that I do not think any lens or
camera, or dry plate, or anything else of that kind,
will of themselves give lifelike portraits; what-
ever merit there may be in the instrument, it must
always be the worker who controls and who really
makes the picture.

It has been the custom of most photographers
for years past to consider that the best lens is that
which gives the sharpest image on the ground-
glass. This is a custom born of vulgarity and
ignorance ; experience shows that in portrait work
the lens which gives the sharpest image is nearly
always the worst for the purpose.

The recognised form of instrument which will
be found doing service in most of the professional
photographers' studios of this country is of too
short a back focus, and only suitable for taking,
pictures of children when extreme rapidity of
exposure is needed. The student who wishes to
make beautifully modelled and softly outlined
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