ON THE GENERAL PROBLEM OF PHOTOGRAPHIC REPRODUCTION, WITH SUGGESTIONS FOR ENHANCING GRADATION ORIGINALLY INVISIBLE.
[Philosophical Magazine, Vol. xxn. pp. 734—740, 1911.]
IN copying a subject by photography the procedure usually involves two distinct steps. The first yields a so-called negative, from which, by the same or another process, a second operation gives the desired positive. Since ordinary photography affords pictures in monochrome, the reproduction can be complete only when the original is of the same colour. We may suppose, for simplicity of statement, that the original is itself a transparency, e.g. a lantern-slide.
The character of the original is regarded as given by specifying the transparency (i) at every point, i.e. the ratio of light transmitted to light incident. But here an ambiguity should be noticed. It may be a question of the place at which the transmitted light is observed. When light penetrates a stained glass, or a layer of coloured liquid contained in a tank, the direction of propagation is unaltered. If the incident rays are normal, so also are the rays transmitted. The action of the photographic image, constituted by an imperfectly aggregated deposit, differs somewhat. Rays incident normally are more or less diffused after transmission. The effective transparency in the half-tones of a negative used for contact printing may thus be sensibly greater than when a camera and lens is employed. In the first case all the transmitted light is effective; in the second most of that diffused through a finite angle fails to reach the lens*. In defining t—the transparency at any place—account must in strictness be taken of the manner in which the picture is to be viewed. There is also another point to be considered. The transparency may not be the same for different kinds
* In the extreme case a negative seen against a dark background and lighted obliquely from behind may even appear as a positive.
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