From Pictorial Artistry: The Dramatization of the Beautiful in Photography

"Evening fell upon the little fisher village, and with it, silence. Nothing seemed to move—even the streaky clouds appeared stationary. From one of the little houses nearby came the gentle strains of a reed organ. This little instrument can be found in almost every house in Nova Scotia.

The music had a deep effect on me while facing the serenity of the scene. A few old fisherfolk came down the road to watch the performance with the camera and tripod. I worked very carefully, as if not to disturb the spirit that floated through the air and expressed itself in “Tranquility”.


An arrangement of many long horizontal lines, which convey peace and quiet, but here and there interrupted by delicate vertical lines which lend stability to the setting without giving it dramatic power. Also the extensive use of medium grey tones in mass adds to the serenity and simplicity of the plain motif.

Technical Problems:

The houses were of light grey color, but photographing against strong light in the sky, the film, not having the light scale capacity of the eyes, rendered the buildings dark and the sky too light, when translated to the final print. This, of course, is not in accordance with the impression one has when viewing the actual scene. Rebalancing of the negative and final print via reduction, printing in, holding back and flashing in, became a necessity, if a truer picture was to be the result.


Camera: Linhof 9x12cm

Lens: Zeiss Tessar

Stop: f.11

Filter: Medium

Film: Agfa Superpan

Exposure: ½ second on tripod

Print: 14x17 Tuma Gas, direct"

by Adolf Fassbender, 1937

Date Made: before 1937

Maker: Fassbender, Adolf

Location: Currently not on view

Place Made: Canada: Nova Scotian

See more items in: Work and Industry: Photographic History, Adolf Fassbender, Pictorial Artistry, Photography


Exhibition Location:

Data Source: National Museum of American History

Id Number: PG.004116.11Catalog Number: 4116.11Accession Number: 146001

Object Name: photographphotogravure

Physical Description: paper (overall material)Measurements: image: 8 in x 10 1/2 in; 20.32 cm x 26.67 cm


Record Id: nmah_1807003

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