Flash-Light Group | Society of Amateur Photographers of New York

Flash-Light Group | Society of Amateur Photographers of New York

Editorial Comment for this plate:


In our issue of November 23, 1888, we spoke of the “flash-light negative” which was made at the rooms of the Society of Amateur Photographers of New York, by Messrs. A. Peebles Smith and Edward W. Newcomb, and at that time gave a half promise to show a reproduction of it to our readers. Mr. Edwards, of the Photo-Gravure Company, has enabled us to fulfill that promise by the excellent gelatine print accompanying this issue. The titling on the print gives the date of the meeting at which the exposure was made. The negative was made on one of the ivory films, with a Wale lens, and developed with a pyro-soda developer composed as follows:

a. Sulphite of soda to test 60 deg. by actino-hydrometer.

b. Carbonate soda to test 20 deg. by Hydrometer

c. Pyrogallol……….1 ounce

    Water…………… 12 ounces

    Oxalic acid…… 30 grains

The film was first soaked in a solution composed of two drams of c in six ounces of a, and then transferred to a solution consisting of equal parts of b and water. Seventy grains of Scovill magnesium compound was used. Focus was previously obtained by the light of a magnesium ribbon, an aperture of f 8, used in the Wales lens, employed. No serious attempt was made at grouping, everything being more or less hurried, and the object being to test the magnesium compound. Previous to this experiment, no satisfactory flash-light group in the Society Rooms had been photographed, though many attempts had been made.

Before the exposure, a quantity of the magnesium powder was vigorously pounded in a mortar, to prove its non-explosiveness; and forty grains were actually eaten, to establish its non-poisonous character.

It should be explained that the peculiar softness of the gelatine print was given it by printing through the film. There is always a slight indistinctness in the print when this is done. It was necessary to print through the film in order to make the positive appear non-reversed, like the original.

An interesting account of the Society of Amateur Photographers, its present and future prospects, will be found in another column over the signature of C. W. Canfield, the President. (p. 65)

Flash-Light Group | Society of Amateur Photographers of New York

Image Dimensions13.8 x 19.5 cm Published as frontis plate for February 8, 1889 issue

Support Dimensions20.5 x 28.6 cm