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From Pictorial Artistry: The Dramatization of the Beautiful in Photography
"The early morning mist has just lifted. The sea… so still and serene, is like a huge mirror before us. On the horizon hover the same bank of clouds we had seen there the night before. For here, on the coast of Nova Scotia the land breeze and the breeze from the sea wage a constant see-saw battle that suspends cloud formations in almost the same position for days at a time. When the sea breeze wins out the clouds quickly mass and march inland, bringing rain. But today, the clouds seem to be moving away little by little, lowering over the horizon’s edge until they seem to almost touch the sea. The small fisher-boat and its crew seem infinitesimal in the middle distance against the great expanse of sea and sky, and the majesty of the great clouds.
Balance, tone, and the placing of a few small objects in a large picture area, is the secret of the effectiveness of this composition. For once, although the rendering is in high key, the leading motif appears black against light. The clouds, however, mass large enough to hold the balance easily. The broken waves in the lower right hand corner also help the balance and give interest to the base of the picture.
Technical Problems:
The water, covering two-thirds of the picture space, was too even and monotonous. Therefore, light and shade was introduced and the ripples emphasized. Clouds and horizon had to be separated, because the almost uniform color between water and sky at the time made the filter useless.
High sky and strength is a difficult combination, therefore delicate groundglass work had to be done to keep the balance.
Camera: 2 ¼ x 3 ¼ Makina
Lens: Anticomar
Stop: f.11
Film: Eastman Panatomic
Filter: Deep Yellow
Exposure: 1/25, in hand
Print: Defender Velour Black"
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: 7 5/8 in x 10 3/8 in; 19.3675 cm x 26.3525 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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