Fourth Meeting: 13th August, 1890.
C. Hulke, F.C.S., President, in the chair.
Paper.—“On Some Means for increasing the Scale of Photographic Lenses, and the Use of Telescopic Powers in connection with an Ordinary Camera,” by Alexander McKay, F.G.S. (Transactions, p. 461.)
Views taken by the new process were afterwards shown with a magic lantern, and comparisons were made with those taken by the ordinary process.
Mr. W. T. L. Travers expressed the opinion that the discovery would completely revolutionize photography, and would prove most valuable for astronomical research and for the purposes of warfare.
Sir James Hector considered that the thanks of the Society were due to Mr. McKay for having brought his important discovery before the members. He had perfected his invention after years of work, and at great expense.
Mr. Field said he suspected the so-called invention was no new thing, as he had seen photographs of Auckland which, taken from the North Shore, showed the minutest details of the buildings and shore-line on the opposite side of Waitemata Harbour.
Mr. R. C. Harding said that the possibilities of Mr. McKay's discovery seemed only to have been faintly indicated in what had been said that ovening, and, for his own part, he was most impressed by its value in connection with the graphic arts. The comparative views of the same landscape as taken by the ordinary lens and by the telescopic combination were specially interesting and instructive; and the question had been raised as to which of the two processes was the more artistic, or more closely resembled the effect to the eye. The difference between two such photographs was obvious, and the question raised was one in dispute among artists themselves. It was the accepted practice in painting to give well-defined detail both to neat and distant objects, though it was impossible for the eye, without a change of focus, to recognize both
in nature. Hence the contention of the impressionists that the conventional style was false, and the practice on their part of representing some portion of the picture in detail and slurring over the rest. He considered that the conventional art and the pictures taken by Mr. McKay's process, representing both the nearest and most distant objects with perfect clearness, were truer, both to art and nature, as the necessary change of focus in the human eye was so rapidly and unconsciously effected. Mr. McKay's discovery, therefore, was quite as important on artistic as on scientific grounds.
The President said that members had overlooked the fact that Mr. McKay's discovery would materially lessen the load photographers have to carry at the present time, and that the number of lenses required would by the same means be lessened. The pictures referred to by Mr. Field were taken by a good but ordinary instrument. Mr. McKay's invention would be invaluable to geologists.