Saturday, May 17, 2008

Carbon Printing By Artificial Light

           Although many photographers, both professional and amateur will be familiar with the fact that the printing of carbon tissue can be done conveniently with the stronger sources of artificial light, such as the electric arc and mercury vapour lamp, as well as by daylight, it does not appear to be so well known that by choosing a suitable source of light prints without the usual lateral inversion can be obtained from ordinary glass-plate negatives by the process of single transfer only. A few remarks on the method of obtaining such prints may therefore be of interest to those who have the necessary facilities in their studios or homes.
           To obtain the unreversed print the tissue most be placed in contact with the plain glass side of the negative, the latter being placed in the printing frame with the film towards the light. The negative moat then be illuminated by a very small but sufficiently actinic sources, and care must be taken that as little light as possible, other than the direct rays from the direct rays from the source, falls on the plate during the exposure.
           The most convenient and satisfactory illuminant is undoubtedly the comparatively new Ediswan "Pointolite" lamp. The actual source in this lamp is a small metal ball, the diameter of which is about two millimeters, supported in the centre of a glass bulb, some 10 centimeters in diameter. The ball is rendered incandescent by a small electric arc, which obtained by placing a second electrode immediately over the ball. The usual rating is 100 candle-power, and the current required about 1,5 amperes. This intense and practically “point” source of light is highly actinic, and forms an ideal illuminant for many optical purposes. In using the lamp for the purpose under consideration it is well to place the negative end of box coated inside with a dead black, and to the lamp outside the box at the other end. A small rectangular hole is to be provided in thia end, so that when the lamp u placed as close as possible to the hole the beam of light which enters the box will just cover the film of the negative. The distance between the centre of the bulb and the negative may be 20 centimeters, or even less. It is clear that a number of negatives may be printed at the same time, the bulb of the lamp being placed for this purpose in the middle of a circular or, say, octagonal box with suitable radial partitions; light reflected from the film of one negative must not be allowed to fall on the others. When six negatives are printed at once the cost of printing may be less than that of the final rapport used in the double transfer process, and there is, of course, also a considerable saving of time. With negatives of average density the time of exposure required is 40 to 50 minutes. The time may be shortened, if fine definition is not required, by reducing the distance between the negative and the lamp. It may be added that the "Pointolite" takes so little current that is may be connected to any lamp-holder, special wiring not being required.
           A second illuminant which will be found to give satisfactory results is the iron arc, but this can only be used where ordinary arc lights are installed or where the electrical fittings allow the use of a current of 5 or 6 amperes. The advantage of an arc with iron pole, instead of the usual carbon poles is that the iron burns away very slowly, so that no “feed” is required. In fact, the lamp in this case may consist simply of two iron rods, 1 or 1*(1/2) cm. in thickness supported in the same vertical line with a space of about 4 mm. between their nearer ends. The poles must be, of course, insulated and connected to the mains in the same manner as the ordinary arc lamp. The arc is most conveniently “struck” by drawing a third iron rod across the ends of the pole piece. Once the pole, become hot the lamp will run for long periods, sometimes hours, without requiring attention. If the power is supplied by direct current the upper pole should be made the negative one. It is well to place a tray containing .water below the lamp, as occasionally small pieces of molten iron may fall. As the light is very rich in ultraviolet rays it should not be used except when the eyes are protected by plain glass or ordinary spectacles. With this more powerful source a larger number of prints may be exposed at once, the frames being arranged in a circle, say 50 cm. from the light. At this distance no special screens are necessary and reflection from surrounding objects is of no account unless they are light-coloured. The exposure required at 50 cm. is about 20 minutes, with a current of amperes.
           With the distances quoted above the diameter of the circle of confusion representing the points of the image is about .005 mm, but there is a slight loss of definition which appears to be due to reflection between the front and back surfaces of the negative. The want of sharpness, however, is remarkably slight, and in most cases amounts to no more than a softening of the otherwise hard lines of the picture, an effect which in many subjects is quite pleasing.



           The question of re-sittings is one which perennially crops up, although we do not think that photographers have so much to complain of in these days as they had a few years ago. Probably the broader style of treatment which is now general has a good deal to do with it, while more intelligent and less mechanical retouching has also had an effect. Still, they are common enough to be reckoned one of the plagues of professional photography, and we have to consider the best way to deal with them.
           In the first place, the operator will save himself much heartburning if he can bring himself to realize that the sitter does not usually intend to cast any imputation upon his ability. The old hand knows this, but the young artist is apt to take the return of proofs with perhaps rather a pointed remark or two as a sort of blow in the face, and either to contest the matter or to yield with, rather a bad grace. That is quite the wrong thing to do. He should endeavour to see the matter from the sitter's point of view as well as from his own, and to do all that he can to give satisfaction. Personal recommendations are the best possible advertisements for any business, and a dissatisfied client will often be the means of diverting many profitable orders, while the assurance that polite and considerate treatment can always be expected will have the contrary effect. There are few people whose genius is so transcendent that they can afford to be ungracious, not to say rude, so that our advice is to stifle one's feelings and to accept an unpleasant situation with a smile. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule, and if the photographer can see that an attempt is being made to impose upon him there are good grounds for protecting himself against it.
           It is not wise to mention the subject or to make any conditions as to re-sittings on any price list or even verbally at the time of sitting, as this shows a lack of confidence. If re-sittings are so frequent as to be a serious matter it is a sign that there is something wrong with the work, and a decided attempt should be made to remedy it. In many cases faulty or excessive retouching is to blame, and in others a want of attention to small details in drew or posing. Therefore, in every case it should be ascertained what the fault is before proceeding with the second sitting.
           Various plans have been tried for avoiding loss in this way, but moat of them are open to objection. One is to make a charge if any alteration is made in the dress or style of hairdressing. This appears fair at first sight, but it puts an unpleasant restraint upon the sitter, who may have good reason for complaint, and who can see that certain modifications would help to secure the desired result. Another method is to charge a moderate fee for the sitting and a set of proofs, after which copies may be ordered at a fixed price each. This has its advantages, but as a rule if the proofs are not quite satisfactory the sitter does not return, but tries another studio, so that it is a question of half a guinea sitting fee and no further order or a two or three guinea order with a possibility of a remitting at a cost of two or three plates, with perhaps an additional order at the end. In many studios it is the custom to destroy negatives which are not at once approved of, and if the sitter does not wish thin to be done large a registration fee of, say, half a crown if they are to be kept. Occasionally a sitter will ask for this to be done, in case the second sitting is no more satisfactory than the first. It may be worth while to adopt this plan, but seems to us that the fewer conditions imposed in an intimate business like portraiture the better.
           After all prevention is better than cure, and every step should be taken to avoid the necessity rather than to remedy it when it comes. In the first place, we must remember that the average sitter has no clear idea of the powers of the retoucher, therefore rough proofs should never be submitted unless the negatives are really good and require but little work upon them. It is difficult to explain that this can be altered and that can be altered; the sitter is not so sure about it, and presses for a re-sitting which would not have been asked for if the alterations had been made before proofing. We have noticed that those portraitists who do most of the work themselves are less troubled than the large businesses where it is carried on more or less a factory system.
           Another point is that sufficient choice of poses should be offered to the sitter. One of the most successful businesses has been built up on the principle of submitting six proofs for an average order. Some people have called this taking your re-sittings beforehand, but it is eminently sensible not only as helping to avoid a second trial, but because with so many positions to choose from the original order is in very many cases increased so that on the whole the additional outlay brings in a good profit. At the present price of plates this may not be regarded as advisable, but there is a wide margin between six proofs and the two which are often submitted.
           Whenever it is possible the granting of a re-sitting should be done by the operator and not by the receptionist. The latter may be an excellent business woman tactful obliging but she has rarely the artistic or technical knowledge which are necessary to decide the point. Moreover the sitter enters the studio with less diffidence if the question has been settled wife the person whom she considers is in fault. It should hardly be necessary to say that no proofs with which the photographer himself is not satisfied should be sent oat without remark. In such cases it is well worth offering re-sitting at once. It may not always be accepted, but if it is the sitter comes back in a pleasant mood, which is decidedly helpful. All this is an old story to those who have spent many years in studio work, but we hope that it will go some way to smooth over a disagreeable side of life to those who are still young at it. In every walk of life we are open to criticism, and photographers should be thankful that they are not politicians whose incompetence we see denounced every time we open a newspaper.

EX CATHEDRA: Continuation

Dark-Room Lighting.

           We recently were in the dark-room of a photographic friend whose amateur experience in electric wiring and battery making had been apphed in the provision of what he regarded as luxuries in the way of illumination. We are not so sure but that for a commercial dark-room, there were little more than the necessities for minimizing waste of labour. We should explain that our friend's dark-room, which was of ample size, and had the customary developing bench in one corner, had cupboards the contents of which were clearly seen by means of a little yellow electric bulb worked from a battery and connected to the latter so that the opening of the door completed the electric circuit whilst its closing the light off again. In many commercial dark-rooms where from lack of space elsewhere things are kept which are not needed in development operations a device of this kind would often save the time of a second assistant who might be wanting them whilst the dark-room was in use. Naturally enough our friend's room was fitted with two types of lamp, one with the safe-light nearly vertical the examination of negatives, and another of the horizontal pattern for use in the development of prints. Another fixture, and one which we have regularly used our self, is a ceiling light consisting of a fairly large lamp I a foot or so from the ceiling with its safe-light uppermost. The illumination, after its reflection from the ceiling provides a weak, but safe, and very comfortable light throughout the room.


           The passé-partout method of framing may very reasonably be thought to be one which will retain its popularity - certainly among amateur photographers and, no doubt, among the customers of professionals, to whom, however, it has not been offered as freely as its artistic possibilities warrant. It is sometimes astonishing to us to notice the ugly designs of frames which are shown in the show windows of photographers whose taste, judging from their own work in portraiture, might be thought to be a good deal better. The passe-partout with its ready adaptability to the key and colour of the print is particularly fitted for the display of window specimens, and, a* we have said, might well be offered to the customers of a studio more than it has been. Perhaps the manufacturers may do something towards further popularizing this form of framing; the altogether charming metal edging which for some year or two now has been on the market is one way of overcoming an objection to the passe-partout, viz., the impermanence of its paper binding. Messrs. Butcher have done something in the same direction by providing the slender frames, which are practically more or less solid surrounds for passe-partouts. More might certainly be done in this way by providing in one form or another a frame for the passe-partout which need only be of the lightest construction, any hanging tabs or rings ere attached to the back of the passe-partout itself, and the accessory frame thus relieved of any weight.

Fastest Fixing.

           Among other suggestions which we recently made to a correspondent who sent up a batch of stained paper natives was that of using a bath of the maximum fixing speed. Where, as in the case of such negatives, the process of fixing cannot be seen by the eye it is more than ordinarily necessary to arrange matters so as to secure complete fixation. As was ascertained some years ago by Mr. Welborne Piper in the course of a lengthy series of experiments, a fixing bath of 40 per cent, strength, that is to say, 8 ozs. dissolved, water to make 20 ozs. of solution, fixes more rapidly than any which is weaker or stronger. Although these experiments were made with a particular emulsion, our own experience with plates of many different makes has shown us that for practical purposes the strength of bath abovementioned may be taken as that which fixes in the shortest time. Obviously more hypo is required to make up a. bath of this strength, but, setting aside loss from sheer carelessness, such as splashing the solution about, there is no reason to believe that a bath of this strength is any less economical in use than one containing, say, only 4 to 6 ozs. in a pint of water. We have yet to find a plate with which a bath of this maximum strength cannot be used. In the case of papers it may easily happen that frilling or blisters may arise from the use of a fixing bath of this strength, although in our experience such effects have been very rare.

An Enlargement Attachment.

           By those photographers who require to make an enlargement only on comparatively rare occasions the studio camera may be very suitably employed. The addition of a small attachment serves to convert it into an enlarger capable of making a print of the size of the largest plate which the camera will take. The attachment consists simply of a box mounted to slide, by means of a panel, in the grooves which carry the camera lens. The box is provided at one end for the reception of the negative to be enlarged and at the other with an R.R. lens of focus suitable for the purpose. The distance between the diaphragm of the lens and the negative will naturally be adjusted in correspondence with the degree of enlargement required. For this there is the very simple rule that the distance will be one focal length plus one-half one-third, one-fourth, according as the enlargement is to I three or four times. Where the studio does not provide a ready outlook to a clear sky for the illumination of the negatives, the necessity of tilting the camera may be avoided by using a reflector in the shape of a mirror or even a white card placed at an angle of 45 to the plane of the negative. An alternative where electric light it used in the studio may consist simply in placing this reflector, or rather the white card, a few inches below an, arc lamp or a half-watt bulb.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


           The first stop towards managing your sitter is to hare perfect control of your own feelings; no matter what worries or annoyances yon hare to encounter, do not take them into the studio with yon. Man is an imitative animal, and in the great majority of cases unconsciously copies the temperament of those surrounding him in a greater or lees degree, according to his own strength of character. Therefore, it is very necessary that the photographer should cultivate a quiet geniality of manner, adapting his degree of freedom of speech and manner to that of his sitters, taking care to avoid an excess of familiarity with those who bare an idea of their own importance or a patronizing air with those of more modest manners. To pat it briefly, the operator must be "all things men" (and women), and should boar in mind that "As iron sharpeneth iron so is a man's face brightened by the countenance of his friend."
           One person at a time is quite enough to manage, and any friends who accompany the sitter most not be allowed to remain in the studio while the kitting is made. If possible they should be induced to remain in the reception-room, but usually it will not be easy to arrange thin, and one at least will be allowed to enter toe studio. I have always made a rule of having a screened-off corner with comfortable chair, to which I escort the friend as soon as I have welcomed the sitter taking rare that the friend cannot peep out and he seen just as an exposure is being made. There is a goal reason for this; it prevents the friend from criticizing the pose, seen from a totally different position from the camera, id also prevents conversation, which often results in giggling With children, it is, of course, necessary that they should he accompanied by an adult, but only one should be allowed. If a mother and nurse come, try to get the mother to retire behind the screen, as the child will usually behave better with the nurse, who will not try to excite it. A whole family party in the studio usually means a resitting after a lot of valuable time and plates have been wasted. Even if a family group has been taken, the members should be shown out if separate sittings of any of the children are required, and it is sometimes politic to ask permission to make a negative or two of a pretty youngster, even if not ordered. The parents feel flattered by the compliment, and go away feeling that the photographer m really a man of taste.
           We now come to the practical work of making the portrait, some people call it a "picture," and we should endeavour to make it worthy of both designations. To this end it is necessary to make a rapid survey of the sitter's features and figure so as to get the best result possible. It is said that Reynolds always wanted to dine with a person before he painted his portrait, so as to get a true impression of his appearance, but the photographer is not so fortunate, for he has only a minute or two to decide upon his course of action. I will endeavour to indicate a few of the points to be observed. There is not one person in a hundred whose features are even approximately symmetrical, so that it is necessary first to decide which side of the face is to be turned to the light. The nose will often appear quite straight if the head be turned one way, and either aquiline or retrousse if turned the other. As a rule it is advisable to choose the straight side unless other conditions militate, in which case the aid of the retoucher must be sought. With nine people out of ten the left side of the face is the most perfect, so that the studio should be arranged to take negatives with the light falling on the sitter's left hand.
           The eyes are usually uneven in size and sometimes in height; the best result can be obtained by having the larger or higher eye nearest to the camera. In cases of a decided squint the abnormal eye should be turned from the camera and brought well into shade, so that it can be more easily corrected in the retouching. If the profile is fairly good, one or two positions of it should be taken - when the sitter is afflicted in this way.
           If the sitter's neck be short it can be made the most of by lowering the camera considerably, while with a long, scraggy neck the camera should be well raised. The height of the camera has an important effect upon the rendering of the nose. A long nose is shortened and the upper lip well shown with a low camera, while a snub nose and long upper lip is better rendered from a higher position. Tilting the head up or down will give the same effect, but this would interfere with the pose of the head and probably spoil the eyes and forehead. A small, receding forehead should be inclined towards the camera, while the possessor of a massive one may throw the head well back. In both these cases the pose will probably be a natural one to the sitter.
           The hands are a constant source of worry, and many photographers now look the difficulty boldly in the face and take bust portraits almost exclusively. If they have to be included in the picture the hands should be made as unobtrusive as possible, and care should be taken not to let them come too far forward, or they will appear larger than they really are. It is usually recommended to use the swing back to bring the hands into focus without stopping down the lens, but this is not a good plan, as it necessarily renders them on a larger scale than the rest of the picture. It is always desirable to use as long focus a lens as possible for sitting figures, so as to minimize distortion of this kind. Of course, some sitters have small hands, and then there is little difficulty in dealing with them. One position is always to be avoided, that of having the fingers interlaced while the hands are lying on the knees. A book or flower may be held so as partly to hide the hands, but this device is rather hackneyed. A long chain or string of beads falling from the neck into the lap often affords an opportunity for a graceful arrangement of the fingers.
           Full-length portraits are now rarely taken unless for the express purpose of displaying the dress or uniform. For these the camera should be raised, so that the lens is about level with the breast of the sitter say, five or six inches below the chin. Care should be taken that the body is well balanced upon the feet, which should not be placed evenly, but one; little before the other; in military terms, the sitter should ''stand at ease" and not at "attention." At the risk of being considered old-fashioned I strongly advocate the judicious use of the head-rest for standing figures, as not only are "moves" reduced to a minimum, but it prevents the sitter from dropping into a slouching position. I prefer not to place the rest behind the head, but behind one shoulder.
           The rest is also very useful when making dancing poses, as it enables a position to be held with one foot in the air. The ironwork should be painted a fairly light grey, so that it is lost in the background and is easy to work out on the negative. If black or dark green, as usually supplied, it is difficult to get rid of.
           Young children present a different set of problems from adult sitters. Their features do not require so much consideration, and the lighting is usually full. The great points are to keep them still and to secure a happy expression. They should not be allowed to curl themselves up with one or both legs drawn up under them, but otherwise they will find their own poses, from which the photographer should make his choice. The great thing is to get the child's confidence as soon as it comes into the studio, and to keep the camera out of evidence as much as possible. To attempt to work with children as one would with adults is to court failure. Many of my best child pictures have bean obtained by focusing upon a cushion or similar article, placed where it is intended the child to be, before it came into the studio at all ; then the plate was inserted t the slide drawn, and the child coaxed into position in an innocent sort of way. Then the exposure was made, using a rather long release tube or cable, and while the child's attention was otherwise occupied the plate changed and the process repeated. A little table at which the child can stand is an excellent accessory, as if a toy be placed upon it in focus the child will usually go to it of its own accord; if spoken to it will usually look up with a pleased expression, and the exposure is instantly made. I generally find that I can get three sharp negatives out of four exposures when working this way. The "little bird" trick is not a bad one; but there should be no deception, the bird should be forthcoming. I have made hundreds of negatives with the help of a cheap toy, consisting of a small metal bird perched on a bulb which contained a water warbler, worked by a rubber tube. The bird flapped his wings and opened his beak while singing. The plan was to tell the child to look for the bird, and to give a note or two on the warbler, and immediately after the exposure to show the bird in action for a few seconds. It was then hidden and the child told that it would come back if he were good. Alas! a little sitter found it when I was not looking, and effectually ended its career. It was probably of Hun origin, and, I hope, cannot be replaced. However, the idea remains, and it might be possible to make a substitute. It is a good plan to keep a few cheap toys so that a child can take one away with it, especially if a resitting may be necessary, as the child will be willing to pay another visit to a place where toys are given away. Big toys, such as Teddy bears, horses, etc., are a nuisance, and the toy should be used to attract the child's attention and not given to it until the exposure is made. Before I learned this I have had a child marches away with it into a dark corner and sit down to play with it, any attempt to entice it out being hopeless. I have said nothing about posing either adults or children, as little useful information can be conveyed by words. By the study of paintings, engravings, and the work of good photographers much can 'be learned and a general idea of what is graceful and artistic obtained, then when the sitter arrives one is not at a loss for a pose. If there is any characteristic mannerism about the sitter it should be preserved; if a man habitually holds his head on one side it is a mistake to put it straight, as it would be to make a man who stoops slightly stand bolt upright.


           To the great majority of people the stereoscope is nothing more than a scientific toy or perhaps a rather troublesome means of looking at a number of photographs which have cost more than usual labour to produce. In consequence the instrument has been banished from its place in the drawing-room, and only a few enthusiasts who make their own slides venture to keep it in evidence. We have from time to time urged the claim of stereoscopy o be the one branch of photography with which the draughtsman or painter cannot compete, and, further, we have pointed out the great educational value of such pictures, which are as near faithful renderings of their subjects as it is possible to obtain upon a flat surface. When produced in an additive colour process such as that of F. E. Ives, and shown on a binocular Kromskop the illusion is almost perfect.
           For the moment we are not concerned with the beauty or scientific interest of stereoscopic work so much as with its utility in various branches of science and industry. There are many subjects full of intricate detail lying in several planes which cannot be rendered satisfactorily in a monocular photograph or by the cleverest artist. In the one case we have a plan with a certain amount of shading to represent relief and in the other we get the impression of one person who if not an expert in the subject may omit important data, while if he is an expert may unconsciously emphasize such features as seem important to him. The stereoscope is impartial in such matters, and if the separation of the view-points for the two negatives has been properly adjusted the subject should appear exactly as in nature.
           It is not necessary to give a detailed list of subjects suitable for stereoscopy, for once the question is raised any intelligent person will readily perceive in what way he can apply it to further his own work or studies. Recently we were glad to hear that the medical profession has shown considerable interest in this work. Many valuable records have been obtained, but there are still many branches of science and art in which development is possible. For example, crystalline fractures such as those of cast-iron or brass, can be photographed on an enlarged scale, and by a judicious separation of the lenses any desired amount of relief can be obtained. As this question of separation has not always been clearly understood, it may be well to point out that the degree of relief obtained is governed entirely by the separation between the lenses when the exposure is made. If only one lens be used and the exposures made successively, then the separation is the distance the lens has been moved. The distance by which the centres of prints is separated has no effect on the relief but only upon the ease with which they are combined in the stereoscope. Much of the eye strain which many people experienced is due to the separation in this respect being too great.
           The error that is most likely to be made is that of using too wide a separation when working at close quarters, as when taking small objects on full or even quarter scale and in portraiture or ethnographical studies. The usual focal length of lenses supplied in pairs for stereoscopic work varies from three to six inches. Occasionally lengths up to eight inches are supplied, but this is unusual, except to special order. Even this is insufficient for close up work, as it will readily be understood that at a working distance of eighteen inches the disparity of the view-points of two lenses with a separation of three inches is very considerable, giving a drawn-
out appearance to any projecting details. For example, if we desired to take a stereograph of a lump of sugar, we should obtain quite a false rendering of the crystalline texture, the small crystals being drawn out into needlelike forms. It is, therefore, often desirable to avoid the use of paired lenses, and to make the exposures by successively moving the camera the necessary distance.
           It will thus be teen that for stereographs of immobile subject, the possessor of a small camera needs no additional apparatus. All that is needed is a small board or platform on which the camera can be slidden laterally and secured at the proper point. Small deviors for this purpose are listed by most of the principal dealers, and can, we believe, still be supplied. An appliance which should prove of great value to the scientific photographer is the double mirror, introduced by Mr. Theodore Brown. In this apparatus two small mirror are hinged together like a book so that they may be placed either in one plane or at any angle to each other. When inclined together, be it ever so slightly, a dissimilar view of any object is reflected by each, and if these are photographed with an ordinary single-lens camera we have at one exposure a stereoscopic negative, no central partition or other modification of the apparatus being necessary. Although introduced mainly as a cheap and simple means of making stereo-negatives, the Brown transmitter possesses many great advantages. In the first place the limit as to the diameter of the lens is removed. Thus, rapid portrait lenses or large aperture anastigmats of any desired focal length may be used, and in the case of surgical work the simultaneous exposure minimises the risk of movement. A few experiments will be necessary to find the degree of inclination necessary for various distances, and if the mounting included a graduated arc such as is fitted to binocular field glasses, this could be registered for future use. There is one slight drawback to this method of working, and that is the fact that the images are laterally inverted, but for scientific work this would in many cases of no moment; if it were the prints can be made by a transfer process such as Transferotype or the single transfer carbon process or, if films are used, by printing from the reverse side. By this method the Datives may be of much larger dimensions than is, possible with a binocular camera even as large as 15 x 12 being practicable. The prints may then be viewed in the stone or reflecting stereoscope instead of the Brewster or box-form of instrument. Stereoscopic prints if not made in the form of transparencies, are best if I on gelatino-chloride paper, as there is less chance of loosing shadow detail than there is with developing papers. The negatives should be thin and fully exposed what would be called flat in ordinary work where the grapher relies only upon light and shade to give a semblance of relief.


Over-printed self-toning paper.

           With some of the more recent batches of self-toning paper we have noticed a lack of uniformity. One batch that we were using lost very considerably in the fixing-bath, with the result that printing had to be carried much deeper in order to ensure the finished print being of the requisite depth and of a good colour. A later batch, upon fixing the first print or two, showed that it was one in which the prints lost very little, and we at first thought that owing to this difference the whole of the untoned and fixed prints (a very large number) were spoiled through the printing being carried too deeply. They were, however, saved in the following way. A bath containing 4 ozs. common salt in 10 of water was made up and the prints previous to fixing were placed in this for about fifteen minutes. Upon transferring to the ordinary fixing-bath they lost a good deal of depth, being reduced to just the right quality. The tone, of course, was modified, being of a cold black, and equal in every way to platinum-toned P.O. P. In fact, it is so satisfactory that many may decide to finish all their self-toning prints in this way instead of in the ordinary sepia that is so common. We wonder that more users of self-toning paper, and especially the collodion emulsions, do not favour this method more, as it yields prints of delightful richness and quality.

Describing second–hand goods.

           Those who have at any time had occasion to study the second-hand market must have found that many advertisers, both dealers and private individuals, frequently leave much to be desired in describing the goods that are for disposal. Take the case of apparatus with which the general photographer is not very familiar or that of an older pattern not to be found listed in any of the catalogues issued within the last ten years. We recently saw advertised, "A fine half-plate camera by - (naming a maker of a score of years ago), with two slides, no lens." This kind of advertisement, it must be admitted, gives little or no information as to the instrument for disposal, whether it is of single, double, or triple extension, whether it has a turn or tilting table, or a rising front or swing back, details that any practical worker purchasing a camera requires to have for his consideration. An older photographer might know that particular pattern even from the inadequate description giveu, but a modem worker certainly would not unless he happened to have catalogues hand of a score of years back. We have even seen lenses listed by first-class firms with a reputation for second-hand goods from which the aperture, focal length, and other important details were omitted. Advertisers of second-hand photographic apparatus will do well to put themselves in the position of the buyer when drafting out details of their goods, giving just those full details that they themselves would wish to have: a few words should not be omitted if their inclusion would give fulness to the description. It may be that an advertisement giving full information will be seen by a buyer on the look-out for the particular model of the" apparatus described, whereas he would not take the trouble to write to the vendor, if the goods were not fully detailed, for fuller particulars.

Rubber Stamps.

           As a rule a rubber stamp impression upon a mount gives an idea of cheapness, and quite spoils the effect of what might otherwise be an excellent production. This, like many other things, is due to a want of knowledge of the capabilities of our materials. To many people a rubber stamp is oval or circular in. form, the type plain black, and the colour of ink violet, and as far as ordinary office work is concerned these conditions are doubtless satisfactory. It is, however, quite possible to employ rubber stamps in such a way that they may be impressed upon the highest class of mount without being distinguished from lithographic or typographic work. In an instance which recently came under our notice a photographer used a steel die of his signature and town for stamping his mounts or prints. From this he had electros made which were used for printing upon mounts in brown ink. Finding the need for occasionally marking odd mounts and enlargements he sent the original die to a rubber stamp maker and received a rubber facsimile with box, pad and brown ink complete. With this outfit it was possible to sign mounts without causing anything unusual in their appearance. We have also seen the well-known square label form of address, "A portrait from the studio of - ," reproduced in the same way, the result being quite satisfactory. The secret of getting good impressions is to keep the pad and stamp free from dust. An old toothbrush is excellent for keeping the stamp clean, while the pad should be scraped the right way of the material with a blunt knife. When fresh ink is applied it should be well rubbed into the pad and allowed to remain for an hour or so before using. When long narrow stamps have to be used it is a good plan to have a small brass prong projecting from one side of the plate, so as to form two little feet, on which the stamp will stand squarely. These feet also afford a good means of keeping the lettering in correct alignment with the edge of the print.