Art Terms Glossary beginning with V

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One of two or more photographs of the same subject with only slight differences. A variant can be produced in several ways. A photographer can take multiple photographs of the same subject under constant conditions, without significantly changing lighting or exposure time (for example, landscape in a vertical format and then in a horizontal format). Variants can be produced in the darkroom by altering the tonality of the print. A variant can be a cropped (trimmed) version of the same image.
A liquid preparation that is applied to a surface and allowed to dry forming a hard, lustrous, and typically transparent coating.
As a final step, negatives and prints are often coated with a shellac- or resin-based liquid that provides a smooth appearance and an extra layer to protect against scratches or other injury. Varnishes dry relatively quickly, producing a hard finish. To help reduce processing time, before exposure photographic papers can be coated on both sides with a plastic material similar to varnish. Supercoats were introduced around the late 1960s.
A very durable support prepared from the skin of a sheep, goat, or calf. The term is often used interchangeably with parchment. Artists sometimes use a type of imitation vellum made from specially treated paper whose smooth surface was similar to the real thing.
Reverse side of a leaf or folio. In a bound open codex, that on the left.
View camera
A large camera, so-called for the ground-glass viewing screen located on the same plane as the film. This screen, which receives light directly from the picture-taking lens, reveals precisely what the film will record. The typical view camera has four basic structural parts: a bed, the support on which the other parts rest and move, historically a dual track framework although most modern view cameras are monorail; the front, which has various mechanisms that support and allow adjustments to the lens; the back, which has the same freedom of movement as the front but incorporates a ground-glass viewing screen that moves out as a unit to accept a film holder and hold it in place; and the bellows, made of pleated leather or rubber-coated canvas, which provides a light-tight connection between front and back. Instead of bellows, some early view cameras were simply two boxes that could slide into one another.
A photograph in which a central image dissolves into the area around it, creating a soft frame around the picture. Vignettes usually fade into a field of white. The effect can be achieved by photographing the subject through an oval opening in a piece of opaque paper or board placed on the camera lens or by printing the negative through a frame with a partially translucent inner edge. During the nineteenth century, oval vignetting was popular in portraiture.