Snow Caps

From Pictorial Artistry: The Dramatization of the Beautiful in Photography
"Winter night, away from the clamor and noise of the busy streets, and yet in the heart of the bustling Metropolis, New York City. Here and there dancing snowflake flutter past the glare of the lantern and settles on the heavily laden fence or pathway. The stillness makes one hesitate, yet the winding curve with its elfin, snowcapped little figures seem to invite one to continue through the winter fairyland.
The S-curve: In a daring fashion, two powerful leading lines direct attention into the picture field. From whatever angle the picture is viewed there is no other way to enter the simple, but dramatic setting. The lantern in the upper right provides a possible escape which is counterpoised by the surrounding darkness. The suggestion of the road turning inward again satisfactorily encloses the composition at this point.
Technical Problems:
To retain the semi-detail in the darkness of the distance, extreme over-exposure in the foreground was inevitable. Here, as in a great many cases the eyes adjust themselves to a scale of light too great to be reproduced on film or paper. Therefore local reduction had to be applied extensively to bring the tone scale into a possible printing balance. The lantern in the distance and the surrounding area also had to be brought down in tone and gradation via reduction.
Camera: 10x15 centimeter Orix
Lens: Tessar
Opening: f.11
Exposure: 3 ½ Minutes
Plate: Illingworth Lightning
Print: Tuma Gas, direct enlarging—blue toned"
by Adolf Fassbender, 1937
Currently not on view
date made
before 1937
Fassbender, Adolf
place made
United States: New York, New York
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
image: 7 1/2 in x 10 3/8 in; 19.05 cm x 26.3525 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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