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Mounting Finishing and Working-Up Prints Trimming

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FINISHING AND WORKING-UP PRINTS ; TRIMMING, MOUNTING, RETOUCHING AND COLOURING 702. General. Trimming must obviously re move the edges of the print, which are often defective, owing to gelatine having separated, finger marks, etc. It gives the print a neat appearance, and should also remove unnecessary portions which are without interest or disturb the unity and balance of the composition. It is very rare that the arrangement of the picture on the plate is perfect and that the standard sizes of the sensitive materials, negative or positive, include the subject to the best advan tage. There are few photographs but will benefit by judicious pruning.

The purpose of mounting is not merely to protect the print from the friction and wear to which a thin paper is exposed ; it aims also at setting the print apart from its surroundings, so that a spectator can concentrate his attention on it. " The object of a frame is to place round the work an area of restful lines, in quiet tones, which isolate it from the coloured confusion of the walls ; the prime quality of a frame is unobtrusiveness " (C. Puyo, 1903).

Neither the paper nor the card which forms the background, nor the frame, can greatly improve a photograph, but it is equally true that they can, when badly chosen, do it a great amount of harm. The mounting of a print should therefore be studied, from the point of view of avoiding a commonplace and also an extravagant effect.

703. How Much to Trim. The amount of picture to be trimmed away is best found by trial, using two L-shaped pieces cut out of thick paper and marked with a scale of half-inches, the numbers starting from the angle, so as to be sure of forming a rectangle. This preliminary study of the picture may result in sacrificing a relatively large portion of it. It is, therefore, well to carry out this trimming as soon as the first print has been taken from a negative, for in this way it may be seen at once if a smaller size of printing paper may be used for succeeding prints, or if it would be better to make the prints by enlargement.

In doing this, the general rules of artistic composition should be followed, and attention paid to the following points.

In the case of a profile or three-quarter-length portrait the head should not be centred on the vertical axis of the trimmed print ; more space should be left on the side towards which the model is looking. In the case of half-length or full-length portraits, the trimming will have a great effect on the apparent height of the sitter, who is dwarfed if the photograph is trimmed at a point far above the head (this is the usual way of trimming children's portraits). On the other hand, the height of a figure appears greater if the print is trimmed close above the head.

In photographs of architecture, landscapes with monuments, or industrial subjects, the trimming of the print should depend entirely on the vertical lines of the subject. Never depend on the horizontal lines, which, one knows, are not generally parallel with the horizon. If the picture has not been properly registered on a vertical plate, and if, consequently, the images of the various vertical lines cannot be parallel to each other (§ 931), choose judiciously an average vertical line, so as to distribute the error; trimming in parallelism with one of the vertical lines nearest to one of the sides will give the verticals on the other side an exaggerated obliquity.

Landscape often includes no vertical lines at all. In this case one is guided preferably by water (the apparent horizon of a seascape or a panorama, lakes and rivers), or by the average perpendicularity of trees. Failing such indica tions, trimming is done so as to render the per spective of the picture to the best advantage.

Having decided where to trim, mark the lines on the print with a hard, finely-pointed pencil, or, at least, mark the corners of the rectangle which the trimmed print is to form.

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