After the prints were washed and dried, they were passed on to the art department where the figures were carefully cut out with fine scissors and pasted onto a previously prepared background. For composites depicting an indoor scene such as a family group or a gymnastic team, an actual photograph of the room was usually taken. But for outdoor groups a painting was almost always made for the background, as it was easier to arrange the figures in a natural way with a believable perspective in a landscape especially prepared for the particular group. In any case, once the figures were in place, a certain amount of touching up with a sepia wash was done to achieve a better blend of figures to background. This usually entailed no more than adding a few shadows being cast by the figures, extending blades of grass to blend feet into the landscape so the figures would not appear to be floating, and adding some highlights to reflections on water or to the ice or snow in winter scenes. Indoor scenes would be similarly treated; deepening of shadows made by architectural detail, addition of shadows from figures and furniture, and placing a few highlights on chandeliers, mirrors and polished furniture were basic techniques. At this point, though the picture was complete, the job was not yet done. The composite went back to the photographers to be copied on various size negatives, and then sent on to the framing room where it was placed under glass in an appropriate frame.
Stanley G. Triggs

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