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Town and Country Population
disease, and for other special purposes? I think it can be turned to most interesting account
in the production of family likenesses. The most unartistic productions of amateur
photography do quite as well for making composites as those of the best professional
workers, because their blemishes vanish in the blended result. All that amateurs have to do
is to take negatives of the various members of their families in precisely the same aspect (1
recommend either perfect full-face or perfect profile), and under precisely the same
conditions of light and shade, and to send them to a firm provided with proper
instrumental appliances to make composites from them. The result is sure to be artistic in
expression and flatteringly handsome, and would be very interesting to the members of the
family. Young amid old, and persons of both sexes can be combined into one ideal face. I
can well imagine a fashion setting in to have these pictures.
Professional skill might be exercised very effectively in retouching composites. It
would be easy to obliterate the ghosts of stray features that are always present when the
composite is made from only a few portraits, and it would not be difficult to tone down
any irregularity in the features themselves, due to some obtrusive peculiarity in one of the
components. A higher order of artistic skill might be well bestowed upon the composites
that have been made out of a large number of components. Here the irregularities
disappear, the features are perfectly regular and idealised, but the result is dim. It is like a
pencil drawing, where many attempts have been made to obtain the desired effect; such a
drawing is smudged and ineffective; but the artist, under its guidance, draws his final work
with clear bold touches, and then he rubs out the smudge. On precisely the same principle
the faint but beautifully idealised features of these composites are, I believe, capable of
forming the basis of a very high order of artistic work.
[Read before the Statistical Society in 1873.]
It is well known that the population of towns decays, and has to be recruited by
immigrants from the country, but I am not aware that any statistical investigation has yet
been attempted of the rate of its decay. The more energetic members of our race, whose
breed is the most valuable to our nation, are attracted from the country to our towns. If
residence in towns seriously Previous page Top Next page