From Pictorial Artistry: The Dramatization of the Beautiful in Photography
"Man and horse against time and tide! Soon… unless they be quick, the remaining lobster cages will be afloat and they will be lost. But a kindly Providence seems to watch over the destinies of Prince Edward’s Island lobstermen. For day in and day out the same thing happens here in the Gulf of the St. Lawrence River. First, the seemingly needless delay to gather the catch in reasonable time… then, the last minute rush and scurry as the tide-waters deepen, reaching farther and farther shoreward across the wet sands… and the cages finally saved by a hair’s-breadth.
Powerful contrast and concentration of light on the leading motif (the man), was purposely emphasized to avoid being lost in the details of the secondary masses comprised of the wagon and the lobster cages. The disinterested attitude of the horse also refracts interest to the leading motif. The circular eddying motion of the water encloses the motif very effectively.
Technical Problems:
Because there was no color in the sky, a filter had little effect. Therefore, local reduction was applied to the sky and other bright parts of the picture, leaving the nearest wheel and the cap worn by the man the brightest points in the picture area. Beyond the horse’s head a black shoreline continued, leaving a disturbing heavy horizontal bar. It had to be treated so that attention would not be scattered from the leading motif. This was accomplished by merging the shoreline into the tone values of the adjoining ocean and subduing the values of the horse. Reducing, retouching on groundglass behind the film and on a paper negative were the methods used. Finally, by working up the threatening clouds and darkening of the tones in general, the picture was given the dramatic strength in keeping with its mood.
Camera: 2 ¼ x 3 ¼ Makina
Lens: Plaubel Anticomar
Stop: f.8
Exposure: 1/50, held in hand
Filter: Medium Yellow
Film: Agfa Super Plenachrome
Transparency: 8x10 Eastman Commercial
Paper Negative: 14x17 Charcoal Black F
Print: Defender Veltura, P"
by Adolf Fassbender, 1937
Currently not on view
date made
before 1937
Fassbender, Adolf
place made
Canada: Prince Edward Island
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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