an exposure of two seconds would be allowed for each portrait, making
twenty seconds in all. This is the principle of the process, the details of
that which I now use are different and complex. They are fully explained
in the Appendix for the use of those who may care to know about them.
The effect of composite portraiture is to bring into evidence all the
traits in which there is agreement, and to leave but a ghost of a trace of
individual peculiarities. There are so many traits in common in all faces
that the composite picture when made from many components is far from
being a blur; it has altogether the look of an ideal composition.
It may be worth mentioning that when. I take any small bundle of
portraits, selected at hazard, I have generally found it easy to sort them
into about five groups, four of which have enough resemblance among
themselves to make as many fairly clear composites, while the fifth
consists of faces that are too incongruous to be grouped in a single class.
In dealing with portraits of brothers and sisters, I can generally throw
most of them into a single group, with success.
In the small collection of composites given in the Plate facing p. 8, I
have purposely selected many of those that I have previously published,
and whose originals, on a larger scale, I have at various times exhibited,
together with their components, in order to put the genuineness of the
results beyond doubt. Those who see them for, the first time can hardly
believe but that one dominant face has overpowered the rest, and that they
are composites only in name. When, however, the details are examined,
this objection disappears. It is true that with careless photography one face
may be allowed to dominate, but with the care that ought to be taken, and
with the precautions described in the Appendix, that does not occur. I
have often been amused when showing composites and their components
to friends, to hear a strong expression of opinion that the predominance of
one face was evident, and then on asking which face it was, to discover
that they disagreed. I have even known a composite in which one portrait
seemed unduly to prevail, to be remade without the component in