James Patrick  -   EPS Lecture  -  6 December 1893

Matters pertaining to the Art side of

James Patrick's Lecture to EPS

Following his lecture to EPS on 4 May 1892, entitled:  'The Imitative and Imaginative Sides of Photographic Art', James Patrick returned to EPS on 6 December 1893 to give a further lecture:  'Matters pertaining to the Art side of Photography'.  It was illustrated with lantern slides.


He described Art as a subject that could hardly be taught, being the expression of a feeling which is the outcome of an inborn sympathy with the grand and beautiful in nature.

He encouraged EPS Members to observe and study nature and not to take their photographs only in fine weather.  He said that we do not study half enough those wonderful atmospheric effects which are characteristic of our climate.

He said that haze and mist were to be prized and that it was a mistake to use yellow screens to penetrate it.


James Patrick suggested the following rules:

-  Several lines running in one direction must be balanced by line(s) running in the opposite direction.

He illustrated this rule with a picture taken of a fisher woman in a Fifeshire fishing village, bating a line, and told the story of how he had seen this scene and agreed to return to photograph it the following day, but when he returned the woman was dressed in her 'Sunday braws'

When he told her that he wished to photograph he in the clothing she would normally wear, she told him: 'If ye canna tak me in ma Sabbath claes, I'll no be took at a".  However, on returning the following day, he was able to take the photograph he wanted.

-  Do not make an exposure until the figures in the scene are felt to group with the surroundings.

-  Study carefully the effect of light and shade.  Have a keynote object of interest, perhaps a figure, and let it give tone to the whole picture.  The keynote can be either light or dark,

-  Do not use too fast a shutter speed for images where you wish to convey a feeling of motion, including photographs of moving water.

-  be prepared to use composition printing to create your image.

Hand Cameras

James Patrick thought that hand cameras could be a useful tool for the artist, and they had attracted more poeple to photography

  Howeve he felt that only after having much experience of a camera resting on a stout and solid tripod can a photographer successfully work a hand camera.

The lecture above was reproduced in Transactions of the Edinburgh Photographic Society, June 1892, pp231-236.