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From Pictorial Artistry: The Dramatization of the Beautiful in Photography
"The boy at the left was dominating the conversation, emphasizing the import of his words every now and then with a wave of his apple-filled hand. I learned that the free-for-all sailboat race was to take place here in the park lake the next day. The present problem, however, was how the dickens could they get their impish little vessel to stop sailing in circles. Change the mains’l… heavy the ballast… shorten the center-board. These were but a few of the many suggestions my eavesdropping ears overheard. Enough! Action! Camera! But I was not quick enough. The boys spied me. “look, fellers”, said one of them. “That man is going to take our picture. Will it be in the News tomorrow, Mister? Our boat is going to take first prize, you know”.
The boys had to be carefully posed again, since the nonchalance of their natural postures had given way to a self-conscious stiffness upon seeing me. I persuaded them to resume their original positions at the water’s edge, and as their camera-consciousness disappeared once they became engrossed in the solution of their navigating problem, I then caught the interesting little chapter of boyhood comradeship you see here. There is a steelyard balance of the principle masses in the picture area. Note how the separation of the boys’ heads from the light background of the water gives clarity to the motive. Likewise the placing of the light toned sail against the dark reflection draws sufficient attention to this secondary mass to make it the logical continuing point of interest.
The boat, drifting along the eddying and distorted extremities of the reflections brings a welcome sense of motion to this area.
Technical Problems:
The delicate reflections of the clouds were introduced in the negative afterwards to give a feeling of substance and reality otherwise lacking in the lighter toned water areas. This was done with chalk on groundglass substitute. General tone balance was brought about local reduction of the negative.
Camera: 2 ¼ x 3 ¼ Makina
Lens: Anticomar
Stop: f.8
Filter: Medium yellow
Exposure: 1/25 in hand
Film: Agfa Super Plenachrome
Print: 14x17 Tuma Gas, direct"
by Adolf Fassbender, 1937
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
before 1937
Fassbender, Adolf
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
image: 8 1/8 in x 10 1/2 in; 20.6375 cm x 26.67 cm
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
See more items in
Work and Industry: Photographic History
Adolf Fassbender, Pictorial Artistry
Data Source
National Museum of American History
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