The Three Guardians

From Pictorial Artistry: The Dramatization of the Beautiful in Photography
"Evening on the Gaspe Peninsula. The boats are beached or ride at anchor… the nets are racked to dry… and the day’s work is done. In the fading light of fast approaching nightfall, the fisherfolk gather on the shore to talk the affairs of their small world.
The last rays of the setting sun reach across the heavens to silhouette the great granite promontories that stand like guardian mammoths, protecting the destinies of these simple people. How powerful… how dramatic… how alive and vigilant these great rocks seem as they face fearlessly out to sea. I felt that the peace… the security and well-being of the snug little harbor of Persey was forever assured while these three great guardians stand watch.
The long, curving shoreline that starts at the lower right and traverses the composition in a graceful arc leading to the mountains, lends a sense of distance and pleasant perspective to the setting. The large boat at the shoreline provides an interesting interruption to what might otherwise become an uninteresting sweep of line. But the movement is by no means lost, being renewed and accented by the bright reflections along the shore in the distance. The people lend human interest to the setting, without leveling the spaciousness and grandeur of the scene.
Technical Approach:
Working almost directly against the light, the sky as a result was greatly over-illuminated. This made balance, as the eye sees it, only possible by treatment afterwards, such as reduction and groundglass work. So that the eye would not stray out of the picture, the light on the inside curve of the shoreline was emphasized and enhanced by a strong light in the sky above. The foreground, which had been overpowering, was subdued. Unrelated and disturbing incidental matter along the shore was removed by careful retouching.
Camera: Makina 2 ¼ x 3 ¼
Lens: Plaubel Anticomar
Stop: f.11
Exposure: 1/10 on a tripod
Film: Agfa Superpan
Filter: Medium Dark
Transparency: 5x7 Defender Commercial
Paper Negative: 14x17 Velour Black N
Print: Gevalux"
by Adolf Fassbender, 1937
Currently not on view
date made
before 1937
Fassbender, Adolf
place made
Canada: Québec
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
image: 8 1/8 in x 10 1/2 in; 20.6375 cm x 26.67 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Adolf Fassbender, Pictorial Artistry
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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