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and the special beauties of the individual before
him, and consider in what view the faults of
such a physiognomy will assert themselves least
strongly, and the merits show the most. This
is the function of an artist, of a man of
considerable natural abilities, and immense experience.
It is exercised by some of the best
French photographers in an eminent degree,
and by oneM. Camille Silvywho has set
up his studio here in England.

M. Silvyand almost he alone in this country
seems to understand the immense importance
of shadow as an ingredient in a successful
portrait. This is his great stronghold, more
even than the taste which he shows in his choice
of view, costume, and accessory. These last
are great elements in M. Silvy's portraits, but
the distinguishing merit of them is the well-
chosen light and shade. It is perfectly
surprising that this has not been more considered
by all photographers. Their process is a thing
simply of light and shade. It is the light that
makes the portrait come into existence at all.
The patches of shade, more or less dark, alone
prevent a carte de visite from being a sheet of
blank paper. Surely the shapes of those patches
of shade are all-important. It is little known
and when it is known we shall have prettier
photographsthat a light coming from above
the head of the sitter is the most unbecoming
thing in the world, and that a face so lighted
cannot by any possibility show to advantage.
Now, the ordinary photographer's glass-room
has a diffused light all over it, but mainly
coming from above, so that the eyes show in
two dark caverns of shadow, while a black
patch appears under the nose, throwing the
termination of that feature up to the skies, and
making it show as an isolated nob, the full size
of which isand few of us can bear thisdone
the amplest justice to. This top-light, moreover,
scores out relentlessly those baggy marks
which many of us have too well developed under
the eyes, and which are not characteristics of
the human beau-ideal, whilein the case of
ladiesa kind of trough on each side of the
mouth is joined to the chin-shadow after the
fashion of a Vandyke beard.

In ladies' portraits, the elimination of beauty,
and not so much of character as in men, is the
thing to be borne in mind. Now, the most
becoming light is one level with the face, or
even, perhaps, somewhat beneath itit being a
great mistake to suppose that the foot-lights on
the stage are unbecoming. Such a light as that
described above would make any face in the
world ugly, and yet it is just such a light which
is to be found in most photographers' rooms.

As much as possible, as much as may consist
with the action of the photographic process, the
light from above should be got rid of in taking
these portraits, and a light from the side brought
into use. This seems to be understood in a rare
manner by M. Silvy. His portraits are very
popular, but, perhaps, many of the people who
like them are ignorant of the reason which causes
their preference. The reason lies, to a large
extent, in the softness and size of the shadows
which lie in such agreeable masses on the faces
which come within the range of this photographer's
skill. He has discovered the simple
truth, that in an affair in which it is a question
altogether of shadows, the distribution of those
shadows is a thing of vital importance. Of
every face in this town there is a view to be
taken, and a light and shade to be selected,
which will show it to advantage or disadvantage.
To subject all to the same glaring light,
descending on all alike, and to all unbecoming, is
scarcely the way to produce agreeable results.
Yet we have known a photographer standing
under his own light, and most hideously
distorted by that circumstance alonewithout the
additional help of his instrumentto argue with
us, the wretched sitter, that we were none the
worse for his light!

It is difficult to speak strongly enough about
this question of shadows and their value. Queen
Elizabeth, in her ignorance, thought shadows
unbecoming to the glory of her majesty, and
wished to be painted without any at all; and,
doubtless, there are people who now-a-days think
shade a smudgy dirty thing, the less of which
comes upon their countenances the better. But
light cannot be thrown out in its full brilliancy,
nor forms shown in their variety, without its
aid. Why, one of the main differences between
a fine day and a dull one lies in the shadows
which proclaim the first, and are wanting in the
other. On a wet, dull day, as you stand in the
grey sickly light, you may look all round about
in vain for your shadow; it is not to be found.
A cheerless, monotonous glare is over all things.
The sun comes out, and the first thing it does
is to cast your shadow dark and clear and sharp
upon the groundyour shadow and that of the
trees, the buildings, and all things else that come
within reach of its rays. How different everything
looks then; how solid, how bright, how
finished! Those shadows are larger in the early
morning and again as the day declines, and it
is one reason of our admiration of those two
seasons that then the rising or sinking sun
catches but one side of every object, and leaves
so large a portion of the scene lost in a
mysterious and softened shade.

On Thursday, April 24th, at ST. JAMES'S HALL, Piccadilly,
at 8 o'clock precisely,
Mr. CHARLES DICKENS will read his
And on Wednesday Afternoon, May 7th, at 3,
And on Wednesday Afternoon, May 21st, at 3,
Mr. CHARLES DICKENS will read his
These are the only TWO AFTERNOON READINGS that can
possibly take place.

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