It is a well-known fact that the photographs produced in this country are superior, both in point of distinctness in the more minute features and details, and softness and general excellence in the lights and shades, than those executed in Great Britain and the manufacturing cities of Europe. This marked difference has been attributed to various causes by those who have written upon the subject; and as the photographic artists of America use the same chemicals and materials in the preparation of the plates and paper, and the same description of instruments and lenses for concentrating the rays of light, as those employed by foreign artists, they generally agree that this superiority must arise from a more skillful manipulation of the plates on the part of the American artist, and in the employment of the light, or a more clear and better adapted atmosphere for the purpose. The Scottish Photographic Association had the subject before them at a late sitting, and . one of its members asserted that the perfection of a photograph depended, in a great measure, upon the calmness of the air through which the necessary rays of light passed, and that the air of Great Britain and the manufacturing cities in Europe was in a more disturbed state, from local causes, than in America, and hence the superiority of American photographs. He stated that it was not on account of the brightness of the sun and drier character of the atmosphere claimed for America that the marked difference was owing, for early in the morning he was enabled to obtain as beautiful and distinct pictures as could be produced in any country ; but when the factories and the busy life of the city sent up thousands of columns of smoke and heated air, it caused such a vibration of the atmosphere as affected the rays of light passing through it, and on this account blurred and indistinc't pictures were produced.
This article was originally published with the title "Superiority of American Photographs"