several practical people ... are annoyed if they do not see distinctly
every object within their range of vision. The day cannot be too
clear, not the sun too bright, not the air too still; but though such
conditions may be grateful to the physical side of man, they are seldom,
they are seldom coincident with the greatest visual beauty."
manifold motions in nature, the sailing clouds, the onrush of waves, the
shimmering light on reeds, the trembling of leaves, the sway of
branches, the pulsations of the atmosphere, which blend and transform
the shapes of things; in these changes, much of the soul, which
seems to underlie creation is revealed."
trust my audience tonight will bear with me in saying that the
unintelligent practice of photography, in recent years, has increased
the popular prejudice that clearness of vision is equivalent with
ideal day for the average landscape photographer, is that on which not a
leaf stirs, the cattle stand still, the sun shines oft of a cloudless
sky, and the reflections in the water are more real looking than the
trees they mirror."
camera enthusiast then thinks he has his chance, and with Georz
astigmatic lens, well stopped down, and with extra rapid plates, he
secures, what he calls, fine sharp negatives, with plenty of detail,
persuading himself, and his friends, that the result is true nature,
and, what is more, beautiful."
ease with which even a child can make the necessary exposures, and
secure some kind of visible result, renders many impatient of the
difficulties attendant upon a more intimate study of nature's varied
comparison with drawing, as a means of penetrating and recording for
oneself impressions of beautiful things in the world around us, photography
is of far inferior value."
range of coloured light, in nature, is far beyond our means of accurate
have seen dazzling sunlit cumulus clouds rising majestically against what
appears a dark blue sky, but the clouds cannot be represented by pure
white paint, the highest note on our scale of pigment. They are full
of colour, and yellow and red added to our white paint detract from its
blue sky, again, though dark by contrast with the clouds is full of light,
and nearly always is far paler in tone than the lightest object in the
landscape, should the sun not be shining directly upon it."
landscape itself, however, dark it may seem, has infinite gradations in
darkness; and if we try to follow these gradations with our most sombre
colours, we reach the lower end of our scale, black, long before the
deeper tones in nature have been indicated."
is evident that pictorial representation must even be of the nature of a
compromise; absolute truth is impossible , and the artist, whether he wish
it or not, must select , from the coloured tones in nature, those which he
requires for his purposes."
Transactions of Edinburgh Photographic
Society, April 1911, pp. 5-9