The Wet Road

From Pictorial Artistry: The Dramatization of the Beautiful in Photography
"It was seven o’clock on a rainy August evening at the Austrian-Tyrolian border. Looking back through the rear window of the car I saw this magnificent view. “Picture”, I shouted to my friend at the wheel. “Impossible”! was his reply. “how could you take it in this rain and darkness”? I finally persuaded him to stop and I rushed back through the drizzling rain, quickly adjusting the camera. For I had seen something he could not as he kept his eyes on the road ahead. The setting sun had broken through an opening of the clouds, sending its last glorious rays down to the peaceful earth. It was a marvelous sight lasting only a minute. The wet road, catching and reflecting the light, seemed like a river disappearing around the hillside in the distance. The burst of sunlight overhead provided a dramatic climax for our ecstatic appreciation.
Radiated. An array of dynamic lines all pointing in the direction of the leading motive, the sky, bringing the entire setting to a forceful and dramatic unity. The lower key rendering of church and house was necessary to avoid clashing with the intended center of interest.
Technical Problems:
Photographing against the light at such hours results in extreme contrast, a blocked up sky, and black silhouette-like shadows in the landscape. This, of course, is not what the eye sees. So, to produce a true to nature print, over-exposure and extensive reduction work in sky as well as additional balancing with groundglass was necessary. Seeing, remembering, imagining, then knowing the limitations of the material, and finally, the full application of technical media, are all essential to recreate a scene like the “Wet Road” on photographic paper.
Camera: Makina 2 ¼ x 3 ¼
Lens: Anticomar
Stop: f.6.3
Filter: Not needed
Exposure: 1/10 in hand
Film: Agfa Super Plenachrome
Print: 14x17 Tuma Gas"
by Adolf Fassbender, 1937
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
before 1937
Fassbender, Adolf
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
image: 7 3/4 in x 10 3/8 in; 19.685 cm x 26.3525 cm
place made
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Adolf Fassbender, Pictorial Artistry
See more items in
Culture and the Arts: Photographic History
Adolf Fassbender, Pictorial Artistry
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

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