Thursday, January 26, 2012

Poppy Tie Lady in Color

Here she is in water color with her fashionable totally modern tie. Yesterday I wondered if photo retouching was done in the nineteenth century. (in other words, was there life before Photoshop?). And the answer is, yes indeed.  Apparently it could be a hellish process!

Here's a quote from the British Journal of Photography dated November 9th, 1894, describing the working conditions of retouchers:

"Sir - ... I should like to inform you that there is a photographic establishment wherein the employés labour under difficulties quite as great as those described by the 'depressed and low-spirited assistant, who so frequently requires the stimulus of 'a cup of tea'. In a room measuring about 11 ft long by 6 ft wide, and varying from 8 to 10 ft in height, seven retouchers and spotters have to work. Three walls and the roof are of glass, rendering it necessary for the retouchers to keep their heads entirely covered with black cloth, besides making it very difficult to spot, as the light comes from so many different directions. In the winter, the room (which would otherwise be intensely cold) is heated by a gas stove, which renders the atmosphere unbearable. Another interesting fact from the employé's point of view is that the proprietor of the concern sits at a another desk in an adjoining room, having full view of the seven assistants, so that, though they may faint in the fumes of the gas or shiver in the cold, they have not a moment's respite from their arduous employment. ... [Signed: HYGIENE, Bristol]"

And to think I complain about sitting long hours at my keyboard!

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