The Builder

PhotographerLeo Kraft

CountryUnited States

MediumBromide | toned


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Children, Flashlight photograph, Genre: Children, Supports, Toys


Image Dimensions: 18.3 x 24.3 cm tipped
Support Dimensions: original trimmed: 20.6 x 27.2 cm | 19.0 x 25.0 cm

The subject of this photograph is the photographer’s youngest son Robert “Bobbie” Kraft, (b. 1915?) who builds a castle from wooden blocks on the floor of his Lakewood, Ohio home. The photograph was reproduced as a halftone in the July, 1918 issue of American Photography with the following comments and technical information:

The Builder

When a lens of the semi-achromatic type is used under favorable conditions and the real lens quality is secured, it is wonderful how it will render detail that in the ordinary way would make the photograph spotty and “busy,” with a breadth and clearness that is extraordinarily pleasing. This is demonstrated very convincingly in “The Builder,” in which there is a good deal of detail that might in a very sharp photograph he irritating and distracting: the striped blouse, the little flags on the building, the express wagon in the background and the pattern on the carpet. Mr. Kraft has used his Smith lens with skill and intelligence, and the result is that all these details are quiet and subdued without being at all fuzzy, and the picture is a very good example of soft-focus lens quality. The composition is good and the triangular arrangement of lines is well suggested. The small boy appears to be really interested in what he is doing and there is no suggestion that he is merely posing for a picture. Made at Lakewood. Ohio, with a Seneca 5 x 7 view camera, Smith lens, 12 inches focal length, stopped down to f/8. The exposure was made by flashlight with Victor powder, and the Standard Polychrome plate was developed with Pyro in a tray with half the normal carbonate. The print is an enlargement on P. M. C. No. 2.  (1.)

1. The Builder: in: American Photography: Boston: July, 1918: pp. 401-02

The Builder