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From Pictorial Artistry: The Dramatization of the Beautiful in Photography
"Imagine with me!—Before dawn, a pirate ship had crept into the harbor to rob and sack the town while the peaceful villagers still slept. As the pirates were busy collecting their plunder the tide went out, leaving them stranded. The villagers had their revenge when morning broke. Here in the picture we see the threatening symbolism in the formation of the clouds—and the ominous massing of the village, waking defiantly from the dark. It is as though the whole atmosphere is charged with the spirit of vengeance.
The evening before I had photographed the same ship from another angle, against a beautiful sunset. It was an entirely different mood that I captured… A graceful ship resting gently on its side, bathed in the gold of the sunset. The lyrical beauty of the scene called for quite a different title interpretation and decided that the nostalgic inference of the stranded three-master in this exquisite setting was best expressed in the title “The Last Journey”.
Steelyard in close formation. The scene conveys a striking Drama. The turbulent sky, the blunt mass of the ship, the silhouetted church and housetops all combine to effectively portray the mood of the title, “Doomed”.
Technical Problems:
The exposure was made against the light and sun. Result: extreme contrast. Filter practically ineffective for lack of blue near the horizon in the direction of the sun. Blocking up and flattening out of clouds and lack of detail shadows was the result. Extensive reduction, work on shadow detail and brightening of the highlights in clouds which had flattened out were necessary because of the over-exposure. Strong texture was printed in to emphasize the mood.
Camera: Linhof 9x12cm
Lens: Zeiss Tessar
Stop: f.16
Filter: Dark Yellow
Film: Agfa Superpan
Exposure: 1/10 second, on tripod
Print: 14x17 Tuma Gas"
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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