In Memoriam

From Pictorial Artistry: The Dramatization of the Beautiful in Photography
"Far north on the Gaspe Peninsula (in the Province of Quebec), the people are mostly of French descent and very religious. Here one finds shrines everywhere on the hilltops. It is soon a familiar sight to the traveler and one cannot help but feel the devout spirit of these simple peasant folk. This cross on the hilltop symbolically presents the drama of life and death. On the right side descends the valley of desolation. On the left, the posts seem like pilgrims struggling upwards, one by one, until they reach glorification in death at the Cross. Then darkness falls, thunder and storm, but the cross remains—In Memoriam.
From all sides the directional lines of the composition converge on the cross avoiding any distraction of interest from this principal motif. The dramatic force of the entire picture area has been intensified by the sharply contrasting light and dark areas, particularly the bright white spot of sky behind the cross. Clawlike, sharply defined clouds reach out over the valley of desolation.
Technical Problems:
Because of the onrolling thunderstorm only part of the sky was suitable to the mood of the setting–the rest had to be introduced later. The original sky had all that was needed, but it did not reach the picture field. Light and tone balance was introduced by reduction and groundglass work. The posts going up the hill were only partly there and hardly visible. The upper row had to be put in, and the others emphasized.
Camera: 2 ¼ x 3 ¼ Makina
Lens: Anticomar
Stop: f.11
Filter: Dark Yellow
Film: Agfa Superpan
Exposure: 1/5 second, on tripod
Transparency: 8x10 Eastman Commercial
Paper Negative: Velour Black N
Print: 14x17 Gevaluxe"
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 1/2 in x 10 1/2 in; 21.59 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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