Usage conditions apply
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
Currently not on view
Object Name
date made
before 1937
Fassbender, Adolf
place made
Canada: Nova Scotian
Physical Description
paper (overall material)
image: 8 in x 10 1/2 in; 20.32 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
Nominate this object for photography.   

Our collection database is a work in progress. We may update this record based on further research and review. Learn more about our approach to sharing our collection online.

If you would like to know how you can use content on this page, see the Smithsonian's Terms of Use. If you need to request an image for publication or other use, please visit Rights and Reproductions.


Add a comment about this object