Friday, June 20, 2008

Practicus In The Studio: Studio Accessories and Furniture.

           In no respect does the modern style of studio differ more From its predecessors than in the matter of accessories, and we might treat the former in the same way as did the writer of a book on Iceland. A chapter was headed "Snakes in Iceland," and the chapter consisted merely of the words, “There are no snakes in Iceland."
           When we speak of accessories it recalls to the old operator the wonderful combination sets in papier mache on a wooden foundation which gave pedestals, balustrades, stairs, bridges and a host of other things as they happened to be arranged, or the equally wonderful pieces of furniture which professed to represent a piano, a writing-table, a bookcase, and a seat, and deceived nobody. Then we had rocks, stone walls and loose boulders which were sometimes useful, not to mention ships masts, boats, and swings. These have now, happily, found a rating-place in the lumber-room or have helped to relieve the shortage of coal in these upside down times. Still one cannot but help feeling that the accessories themselves were not alone to blame for artificial-looking pictures, the unintelligent and mechanical way of using them being equally to blame. I believe it to be possible that we shall again revert to the use of more accessories in the true sense of the word, when someone finds it necessary to be “original” and to produce something to relieve the severe simplicity of the head and three-quarter length portraits which are now the vogue. The modern portraitist is not likely to fall into the errors of his predecessors, as be has learned to concentrate the interest in his nictures by subordinating unnecessary detail and would not think of making a negative in which the surroundings were as brilliantly and as sharply defined as the figure itself. Although they are somewhat out of favour at present I must confess to a liking for full-length figures, and it is difficult to get these well balanced without introducing something to give the needed spot or mass of light and shadow which makes the composition complete. This is, of course, widely different from the old practice of building a samba of plants and vases round a lady’s figure, so often done by the byegone masters of our art.
           A safe principle for the guidance of those who have to equip a to follow the advice of Ruskin and to have “nothing except what yon know to be useful or believe to be Beautiful.” Do not buy settees or chairs which no sane person would ever admit to a dwelling-house, but select every piece or furniture, whether intended for the studio, the reception-room or even the dressing-room, with a view to its suitability for inclusion in a picture sooner or fact. Variety, it his been said, is the spice of life, and variety in your work can be more easily secured if there is an ample choice in the matter of furniture. You will then steer clear of the error made by en American photographer whose confession I read a few years ago. He specialized in children's portraits, and when the twisted wicker chairs and settees were introduced invested in a fine specimen. Needing a new window display, he made a large canvas-covered panel, and fixed upon it a score or so of his latest and best productions. It was set up in the window and he went outside to judge the effect; when he viewed it he said that all he could see was twenty wicker settees with babies on them. A sadder and a wiser man, he went inside and promptly dismantled the show from which he had anticipated so much.
           Much of the charm of "home portraits" is due to the natural posing and the judicious inclusion of furniture and ornaments which are associated with the sitter in the minds of his friends. A scholar taken in his study appears more at homo than he does against a plain dark background, and in the case of people who, as an old friend of mine said, "are more distinguished by their facial peculiarities than by actual beauty," there is a real advantage in having something beside those "facial peculiarities" to rest the eye upon. In studio portraits therefore we should endeavour to reproduce the homo atmosphere as nearly as possible and to avoid giving the impression that the whole thing is a make-up. If it be desired to make a picture of a man at his writing-table, the general idea seems to sit him at a small polished table with one or two pieces of paper and a small ink-bottle and pen borrowed from the reception-room. Such an arrangement is little better than the Oriental method of arranging theatrical scenery, in which one painting does for ill the scenes, with the addition of a label to tell the audience whether it is a palace or a forest.
           When selecting chairs or settees they should be chosen not for the beauty of their design when empty but for their appearance with a person seated in them. It will frequently be found that the arms are too high or that the curves are such that a graceful pose, especially of the forearm and hand, cannot be obtained. Many chairs are far too low in the seat and have either to be made up with loose cushions or by fitting rather high castors to the legs. It is, however, necessary to have some low chairs for short people, but with ordinary-sized sitters a better pose of the shoulders is obtained by using a chair rather higher than usual. Settees are best of normal height, as in them a more lounging pose is usually wanted, so that all that is necessary is to avoid the special photographic patterns, except those of the garden-seat pattern, which are useful for sketch or outdoor effects. That much-maligned article the pedestal has had its day: it was hard-worked and has earned a rest. It has a useful successor in the flower or vase stand, which is very handy with standing figures, which would look a little lonely without it. It should never be used for the sitter to lean against, but with ladies portraits may be used to support a bouquet or a vase of flowers which the sitter is arranging. It may also be used to hold the busby or helmet of an officer in full dress, to avoid the necessity in the hand or omitting it from the picture, to both of which there are serious objections.
           Children’s portraits permit of the use of many simple accessories, especially for outdoor effects. I made a very useful tree-stump of a lard bucket carefully covered with virgin cork, so as to give the effect, of living bark, the lower ends being well spread so as to appear like roots. This with a cylindrical hollow "log," covered in the same way, afforded many excellent poses and did not look artificial. If the cork had been stuck in anyhow the things would have been useless. When working with these or other outdoor accessories a pail of coarse sawdust, the dirtier the better, is a great help. If a painted floor cloth be laid on the floor and the sawdust it, it looks like sandy earth and will show foot-marks, while it can be piled round the bases of such accessories as I have mentioned.
           A baby-holder is an accessory which should be in every studio that is not exclusively devoted to adults. It may either be of the American or clip variety, in which the child's garments are caught in clips' attached to an upright post, or it may be like a triangular seat with a low bark and a hole through which the child may be held by a person behind. I have found a broad tape, which could be passed round the child's waist and fastened at the back of the holder, a very useful addition. Such holders are, of course, only intended for babies who can just sit up, and could not be trusted in an ordinary chair; besides, it permits the feet to be shown nicely.
           Although I am more inclined to class them with apparatus, certain studio appliances are often called accessories. The head-rest is one and one which I should be sorry to dispense with. Some care is necessary in choosing and handling this instrument. In the first place it should not be heavy, and in the second place it should be simple. What is needed is a support which can be quietly placed behind the sitter (or usually slander), and adjusted so as to give the necessary steadiness. I may say that I rarely place the rest to the head, finding the shoulder or lower part of the neck to be a better position and less embarrassing to the sitter. The number of plates which are wasted on standing poses through "moves" by photographers who consider the head-rest out of date must be enormous. All the moving parts should be kept, like a rifle, bright and oiled where necessary, so that there is no jerkiness in action. Another necessary which I consider indispensable is the head screen. This needs no description, but the covering demands a few words. Most head-screens are covered with a sort of lawn, and this is generally useful; I have also tried light blue nun's veiling, nainsook, and tracing-cloth, as well as butter muslin: these all have different light-arresting powers, and the user must choose for himself if he does not find the stock covering to his liking. A black gauze is sometimes used when it is desired to cut off light without diffusing it. Such a screen is very useful for toning down white draperies without losing the modeling. The reflector also needs no description. As far as its qualities go it should be light in weight, not too large, and capable of being adjusted to various angles. As a rule the surface is too light when purchased, but this defect soon disappears. When the surface gets very grey the material should be, washed, but if it cannot be readily detached from the frame it may have a dressing if Blanco, a sort of pipe clay used by soldiers and for tennis shoes.
           To revert to our original subject of accessories which appear in the picture, I would point out that modern printing and enlarging methods offer such opportunities for control that many of the old negatives which gave meretricious results in albumen or gelatine-chloride would give quite artistic prints upon rough paper with the sharp offensive lights toned down. Uniform sharpness throughout the negative is no longer considered as desirable, so that any falseness of texture in the accessories is not shown in the finished picture. Finally, do not overcrowd your composition; do not use more accessories than are needed. If not needed, do not use them.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Photographic Materials and Processes

[We are glad of the opportunity of publishing the second of the annual reports on progress in photographic manufacture which has been issued by the Society of Chemical Industry. The author is again Mr. B. V. Storr, M.Sc., of the. Ilford Company, to whom students of the technical and scientific side of photography will feel indebted for his analysis of what has been published and accomplished during the period under review, that is to say, the year 1917. We should point out that the reference "J" which figures frequently in the footnotes is to the "Journal of the Society of Chemical Industry." It will, of course, be noted that the report is one which had been completed some considerable time ago. Apparently it is not possible for the Society to bring these reviews out closer to date, although we should have thought that less than a year might be allowed to elapse before the completion of the reviewed period and the publication of the report, - EDS. “B.J.”]

           APARY from work on the production and perfecting of a antisfactory colour cinematograph process, it is probable that the chief photographic effort in the past eighteen months has been towards the improvement of methods particularly adapted to problems of the war. Exactly what has been accomplished in this direction is not yet disclosed to the general public, although some indications have been given in the form of special photographs such as those shown at the last exhibition of the Royal Photographic Society.
           On the whole the general manufacturing conditions have been getting gradually more and more difficult, although in some directions there has been an easement. Bromides, which reached a maximum price of about 25s. per lb. in 1816, have settled down again to about 5s per lb., while silver, which reached a record price of just over 4s. 6d. per os. troy, has dropped again to some what nearer its normal price. Gold chloride, on the other hand, has increased in price by about 25 per cent. Gelatine and all kinds of paper have been getting steadily scarcer and dearer, and owing to their own particular circumstances the manufacturers have found difficulty in maintaining their former standard. The condition of the glass market has compelled manufacturers to make use of renovated negative glass. The general effect of the entry of the United States into the war is not yet fully evident, but it appears highly probable that supplies of some of the raw materials will be still more restricted.
           The general position on some smaller though essential points has improved greatly. In addition to metol substitutes, metol itself is now being produced in this country as well as p-aminophenol, which latter is also being made in Canada; in Australia the manufacture of pyrogallic acid and amidol has been undertaken by a department of the government. The position in enemy countries is not known with certainly, but the patented process of Pape to resuscitate old developers by the addition of alkali is suggestive. Shering improves baryta-coated papers by a farther coating of albumen, and Luppo-Cramer makes the suggestion to improve packing papers by impregnation with manganese dioxide.
           The production of sensitizing dyes to replace those in general use before the war has been successfully accomplished by W. J. Pope, under whose direction are now being made, for Ilford, Limited, sensitol red and green (German punacyanol and pinaverdol) and a new sensitizer, sensitol violet, in addition to erythrosin and a number of dyes used for making photographic light-filters. These are being need both in this country and in the United States.

Negative Processes.

           There is little of actual progress to record in negative processes. The attempt to increase the effective speed of X-ray plates is being made in several directions, but no serious advance can as yet be reported. Baker increases X-ray speed by the use of two intensifying screens, one in front of the film, very transparent to X-rays, and one behind the film less transparent; Edwards for the same purpose proposes to coat celluloid film on both sides with emulsion. Paris and Picard have extended their patent with respect to phosphorescent substances to include the use of phosphorescent zinc sulphide as a substratum screen, a film of gelatinous alumina being precipitated on the sulphide to prevent contact with the sensitive coating.
           La Rougery has patented the production of a special negative paper by high-temperature calendering and pressure and Hudson the process of using an ordinary white paper or card for negative purposes, prints being obtained by reflected light. Sosna and Biedebach have extended their list of dyes used to prevent dark-room fog. etc., to include phenolphthalein, which turns red in alkaline developers – a process very similar in principle to the old method of using a dye in the developer.
           Several of the processes of manipulation have received considerable attention. Crabtree, of the Kodak Research Laboratory, has a paper on development high temperatures such as are frequent in tropical countries. The chief hardening agents are formalin, alum, and chrome slum, which may be employed before, during, or after development; the method recommended is to use a p-aminophenol developer, which causes very little swelling of the gelatine, followed by a plain fixing bath, a chrome-alum fixing bath, or a formalin fixing bath according to the temperature. In the experiments 95°F. (35°C.) was taken as the maximum which need be considered. An interesting method of using a two-solution developer is given by North, who treats the plate first with the solution of reducer and then with the alkali, a method which has the effect under suitable conditions of restraining the denser parts of the image and allowing full development of the light tones. p-Phenylenediamine or quinol with ammonium chloride is recommended as developer hen fineness of grain is desired, the slight solvent action of these substances on the silver salt assisting in this direction; Koch and du Prel, however, attribute the effect to a development of part only of the silver bromide granule. Brewater patents the use of the same developer, combined with nitrate, for development of a wide range of exposures; Loth substances were, of course, known already as preventives of reversal when present in the film during exposure.
           Ross, for the production of stellar images, recommends the use of a quinol and alkali hydroxide developer as giving clean-cut images, a practice in agreement with that of process workers. In this connection some experiments of Campbell and Turner are interesting. The former, by measurements of spectrograms, obtained smaller readings for the separation of pairs of lines than were given by Rowland's tables. The latter got a similar effect in crossed images of a reseau when the lines approached within a certain limiting distance and suggests some mutual effect between the images; it would be interesting to know to what extent this effect could be explained by a disturbance of the mass centres of slightly separated images by reason of the overlapping of the fringes between them, and also whether an actual slight displacement of the lines towards one another is produced in the drying of the plates by reason of the hardening of the film between the lines as compared with that on either side.
           Hechstetter has patented a combined developing and fixing bath which contains thiosulphate and glycerine, with citrate apparently as restrainer.
           The general question of fixing and washing has been examined by Elsden and Warwick. The former determined the rate of removal of thiosulphate from a gelatine film by successive washings and found no evidence of adsorption. The actual time necessary for complete removal will of course depend upon the amount of thiosulphate present, but chiefly upon the rate at which equilibrium is attained between the film and the washing water, this being a function of the nature of the gelatine film and temperature. Warwick found the same general rule to apply and examined also the behaviour of papers, where the absorbent base complicates the problem, and the method of washing in running water. In a further paper Warwick considers the rate of removal of the silver salt by thiosulphate, the normal law being again followed. The rate is dependent on the strength of the hypo solution, a maximum being reached at about 40 per cent, and a zero rate at saturation point. He used a silver sulphide tint, method for estimating the quantity of silver. His general conclusion as to the correctness of the advice usually given to fix for twice as long as is required to "clear" the film is combated by the Editor of the “Photographic Journal of America," who found that thorough washing completely removed all the silver from plates taken from the fixing bath immediately all turbidity had disappeared.
           Weinhandler and Simpson patent a method of destroying thiosulphate and salts of weak sulphur acids by means of hypochlorite produced by the electrolysis of sodium chloride solution containing prints or negatives.
           Bainbridge recommends the permanganate test as the most delicate for thiosulphate, an indication being given by degradation of tint even at a dilution of 1 in 15,000,000; the mercurous nitrate test is more affected by common impurities and indicates only up to 1 in 2,000,000.
           A considerable amount of discussion has centred round the properties of various reducing solutions, a desideratum being a reducer having an effect proportional to the depth of image. Huse and Nietz, following up a suggestion of Deck, examined the effect of combined permanganate and persulphate, and also that of hypochlorite, both reducers being nearly proportional. Becher and Winterstein have examined the action of iodine both alone and combined with thiourea and with cyanide; they give also a general classification of the best known reducers. Greenal examined mixtures of thiosulphate and persulphate, which are much steadier in action than persulphate alone. Gear calls attention to the preserving action of potassium bromide, manna, and glucose on ferricyanide solutions. Smith recommends ammonio-copper sulphate in place of ferricyanide now that the latter is so expensive.
           A paper (by Crabtree" describes the variation of flash powders with their composition, both as to the metal and the oxidiser used, with the fineness of division of the metal and with the arrangement when fired. A mixture containing sodium oxalate, red phosphorus, a metallic powder such as magnesium or a mixture of magnesium and aluminium, and a substance such as strontium nitrate, is patented by him for the Eastman Kodak Co.
Wedekind has patented the use of metals such as zirconium, thorium, and titanium, mixed with their nitrates or chlorates for the production of smokeless and odourless flash-powders.
           Crowther has examined the chemical reactions involved in the chromium intensification process first suggested by Eder and afterwards modified and expanded by Piper and Carnegie in 1905. With Eder's original formula in which a higher proportion of acid is used than in any of the modifications suggested and which leads to only slight intensification, there does not appear to be any chromium compound attached to the bleached image. In the case of the other three formula given by Piper and Carnegie, where the intensification obtained increases as the proportion of acid is reduced, the amount of attached chromium also increases; in the extreme case this appears to be partly chromium hydroxide and partly chromium trioxide, the latter imparting a brown colour, and in the other cases only the hydroxide.

Positive Processes.

           The supply of platinum is still too limited for it to be available for photographic purposes. General Thayer is said to have discovered a considerable source of it in the Adirondacks, but that has not yet materialized. The Platinotype Company have introduced "Palladiotype" in which palladium is used to give effects very similar to those of platinum, and the use of palladium as a toning agent for collodion paper facilitated by a bath which contains ammonium chloride, sodium glycollate, and succinic acid and does not require a special fixing bath, has been recommended by Valenta. The latter has also investigated the properties of salts of diglycollatoferric acid from which an excellent blue printing paper can be obtained, but of poor keeping qualities. Valenta also draws attention to the fact that Sulzberger's patent on the use of ferrocyanide (mentioned in the last report) was forestalled by Fox Talbot in 1839 and that the process was mentioned in Eder's Handbuch.
           Strasser has worked out a toning method with the use of Schlippe's salt; Schering has improved his original selenium toning bath. Nietz and Huse have worked out in some detail the possibilities of obtaining sepia tones by the use of strongly restrained developers. Very few papers give good tones by this process; the best results are obtained by a chlore-quinol developer containing bromide and metabisulphite and necessitating an increase of exposure of from 75 to 100 times that required by normal developers.
Spitzer and Wilhelm have patented a combined toning and fixing bath containing tellurous or telluric acid or their salts along with thiosulphate.
           Two patents for transfer processes have been brought out, one by Pin for film in which coconut oil soap is the chief stripping agent, and one by Kent and Middleton for paper, using paraffin wax. A transferotype bromide paper on similar lines has been introduced by the Kodak Co.
           In process and allied work, Bull, Smith, and Turner have a paper on some of the intricacies of the half-tone process, Fishenden on the photographic engraving of rollers for intaglio printing, and Crabtree on the advantage of using citric and oxalic acids respectively in the preparation of zinc and aluminium plates for lithographs. Dorian has patented the use of a half-tone screen competed of small lenticular grains, preferably coloured (see also Knudson; Ann. Rep. 1. 303). Rieder obtains an intaglio printing surface by forming a screen surface in bichromated fish glue and getting a positive over that in caoutchouc and asphalt; Orans, for ease of correction, prints on emulsion coated on a serrated surface of the type of a Levy screen on celluloid or celluloid on glass.
           Meadway uses a mixture of naphthalene and a white metal, with rubber as adhesive, as costing for a projection screen, while Bebbington coats a support such as glass, gelatine, or waxed paper with a dull blue-coloured solution and projects on to that aide, the audience facing the other side.
           An interesting account is given by Warburg of the work of Meissling on the me of dyes such as erythrosine and auramine as hardening agents in the carbon and gum processes, an effect which is attributed to the formation of formalin. The erythrosin preparations are said to be quite equal to those containing bichromate and to have better keeping qualities.


Monday, June 16, 2008

Assistants' Notes: A Camera Repair-Outfit; The Tyro's First Camera.

A Camera Repair-Outfit.

           ONLY one photographer have I ever met who habitually carried a repair-outfit when going on outdoor jobs, and his practice consisted principally in twelve by ten and whole-plate work at a distance front his headquarters. It is an idea that is well worth following, because, although the occasion for its use may never arise at all when out on a job, there is always the possibility of an accident when the means of a make-shift repair may save the job. In addition to this, there are cases when the movements of the camera are strained to their limits to include an extremely high building, or for other reasons that will occur to all outdoor operators. On such occasions as these a little slackening or even temporary removal if a few screws will prevent that strain and permit of a little extra extension of the movement.
           There is no reason why the repair outfit should be larger than those supplied for cycles. A small screwdriver, as sold for watch-makers, sewing-machines, or fretwork will be the largest item, then a small drill bit or bradawl fixed in a handle, obtainable at any fretwork shop, and a tiny half-round file will complete the list of tools. A small screw eye or two are often handy in several ways and take the place of a gimlet. A small assortment of screws, steel pins or needles, a small tube of fish-glue, and a bit of strong thread or "flex," can all be packed in a little tin, and will cope with almost any emergency.–CHARLES.

The Tyro's First Camera.

           IT is a curious fact that most people who obtain a camera (either by purchase or as a gift) soon begin to wish for some other kind. Now, every girl or boy who taken up photography as a living ought to have a camera. No one gets the real enthusiasm for the work that will get him on if he is satisfied with printing from other folks’ negatives.
           The best all-round camera to start with for pretty well every possible reason in a quarter-plate stand-camera with a double extension an ordinary R.R. lens, and a simple shutter, preferably a roller-blind. In addition to being the right sort of camera to learn most things from in a practical way it has several other strong advantages. One is that the necessary focusing and other operations preliminary to exposing the plate foster a care for ensuring that all this trouble will not be wasted by wrong exposure and careless afterwork. A magazine camera has exactly the opposite Thus, from the very start with the stand camera one gets a bigger and far more encouraging proportion of successes.
           Next, the tyro is sure, contrary to the oft-repeated text-book advice, to try his hand at portraiture, and the ability to focus properly is essential for this work. One more reason for the choice recommended, and a very strong one indeed, is that at the second-hand dealers' this particular type of camera is least in demand and a bargain can often be secured, so that the initial outlay need not be great. The buying of the second camera, when the beginner’s inclinations begin to indicate the most suitable type of instrument, will therefore be not such a costly matter, and the original quarter-plate camera will be found useful for many years afterwards, for lantern-slide making, or to form part of a copying or enlarging installation.–KINGSTON.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

EX CATHEDRA: Photographic Survey of London; The "Vest Pocket”; Non-photographic Side Lines; Vignetting Bromides; Drying Press Negatives.

Photographic Survey of London.

           The communication from the Camera Club, which we print upon another page, sets forth what is truly a very ambitions programme, no less than a comprehensive survey, in the form of photographs, of London at the present time. Until the opportunity ocean of learning, from the booklet which is shortly to appear, the contemplated organization of the undertaking it is clearly impossible to form an estimate even of its possibilities. But, at any rate, it may be thought that a scheme of which one first hears in March must call for an enormous and well-disciplined body of workers if it is to achieve its end of recording the face of London in the Peace year 1919. At the best of times it is difficult to stimulate an interest in the making of records which an to serve our descendants, and while we cannot too highly value the interest which the Camera Club is showing in this work, we are bound to think that some extraordinary army of photographers will need suddenly to be brought into existence if the aims of the promoters are to be realised.

The "Vest Pocket” Commercial Operators.

           There are occasions when a high-grade small camera, far from being a toy, may be of very real service to the photographer placed in exceptional circumstances. The fact that these instruments are fitted with lenses of short focus and wide aperture, and thus give good definition over many varied planes of distance without recourse to stopping down may often be of real service. A case in illustration of this point was told to us some time ago by a commercial worker. He was commissioned to make a series of pictures in a factory, which was rather poorly lighted, of certain pieces of machinery. A the work would have necessitated the use of a lens well stopped down in order to gain the required definition, and as the stoppage of the machinery was an important factor the operator took with him a vest-pocket camera. This he found rave all the definition required, and fine definition without stopping down the lens. The result was that the pictures were taken in a very short time, as the worker was enabled to use the lens working at f/6 instead o. one stopped down to f/22. Enlarged prints were made that gave the customer entire satisfaction. The same operator at a later period had to obtain a view of an old country house in the North of England for an estate agent, and the subject required could only be satisfactorily photographed from a narrow ledge of dill about a foot or eighteen inches wide. This was obviously impossible with the field camera, but, not to be beaten, the operator took his vest-pocket camera, carefully worked his way to the spot, and then, holding on to a bough with one hand, operated his camera with tie other, using the instrument at eye level. The result was a new and striking picture that had a material value in wiling the estate. Though, of course, not to be looked upon as a universal instrument, the modern vest-pocket camera fitted with a good anastigmat will often prove of very real value to the commercial operator when he is faced with difficult subjects. Provided care is given to obtaining a satisfactory negative there is no reason why, with a little working up, the resulting photographs should not be equal, and they may even be superior to contact prints from large negatives.

Non-photographic Side Lines.

           From one or two professional photographers during the past few days we have received letters asking for suggestions for other business, within the technical capacity of a studio establishment, which they might take up. While such enterprise has been undertaken, within our knowledge, by one or two photographers, it is difficult to make general suggestions, since very much will depend not only upon individual craftsmanship but upon the local demand for such articles of manufacture as may be produced. However, it may be worth while to mention the instance of a firm of Scottish photographers who have taken up, we believe with considerable success, the designing and making of toys, whilst in Kent is to be found a photographer who has specialised in the manufacture and design of fancy leather goods, such as calendars, and blotters, and whose work, as we have seen it at the British Industries Fair, possesses merit of a high order. It was first shown at the Fair of some two or three years ago, and as the exhibit is included also in this year's Fair it may be supposed that the project has turned out to be profitable.

Vignetting Bromides.

           Those who have cause to complain of the hardness of outline of bromide prints exposed in one or other of the customary machines may be glad of one or two hints which, if taken, will go a very great way towards removing a defect of this kind. One is to cut the vignetting card from the corrugated board sold for packing. If the 'board be cut so as to give a bevel edge to the opening, the corrugations will provide a series of serrations which make for softness in the print. The second hint is to interpose a sheet of fine ground-glass midway between the vignetting card and the negative. Most printing machines will allow of a frame being inserted between the vignetter and the negative, so that the glass can be introduced in the required position without adjustment, and as quickly removed; when unvignetted prints are required. The glass, of course, cuts down the light, but in these days when light of almost any power can be obtained from electric lamps this is a matter of small moment.

Drying Press Negatives.

           A method of quickly obtaining negatives in a condition for printing and enlarging, which is less known than it deserves to be is that discovered some seven or eight years ago by M.M. Lumiere. It consists simply in soaking the washed negative for about five minutes in a saturated solution of potassium carbonate. The effect of this treatment, quite contrarily from what might be expected, is to produce a temporary condition of hardness of the gelatine film, permitting of the negative being rubbed dry with a clean, dry cloth, after which it can be immediately printed from or enlarged. The readiness with which a negative is obtained in this state requires being the subject of trial before it be appreciated. On taking out of the carbonate solution the film seems to be covered with a film of grease, but very quickly polished with a cloth. We should not care to keep negatives in this condition if value is attached to them, for obviously, in the case of retention of such a hygroscopic salt as potassium carbonate, the film must remain moist, and such a condition is bound to aggravate any causes of impermanence which may arise from imperfect fixation. Moreover, we have come across plates which showed a tendency to strip from the glass under this treatment, and, therefore, on both accounts the negatives should be washed for a few minutes and dried in the usual way as soon as their immediate purpose has been fulfilled.