Sunday, January 06, 2008

Elements of Black and White Photography, review

Written by George E. Todd and subtitled "The making of twenty images". I have recently purchased this wonderful book for $5.00 and this is one of the better five bucks I have spent in recent times. I thought it would be only logical to review it here.

What struck me most at first , were the great many images that span the whole book. It's quite refreshing to see that in a photography techniques publication.

Book pertains to traditional B&W photography and covers just about every aspect, from exposing film to printing. Author uses a phrase from a fortune cookie to get the reader on the right track:

"None of the secrets of success will work, unless you do"

The layout is quite interesting and Mr. Todd takes the reader through the "... making of twenty images" by explaining entire thought process, from what he had found at the "scene", how it was evaluated, how it was shot, processed and printed. All technical data is given for every image.

Above is a sample page. The proof is shown along with the chosen frame, which will eventually become the final image.

As he goes through the paces of making a photograph, he focuses on certain aspects of the process, that was unique to that particular image. By the end of the book, most technical corners are covered.

Zone System isn't forgotten either, including a short but accurate discussion on defining ones personal film speed. In addition printing with the SplitGrade system is also covered as well as archival permanence, matting and exhibiting. Add to that a few good points on composition and you have found yourself a fantastic book that should help most aspiring photographers better their technique, even take it to a whole new level.

This however, is NOT the all-in-one book. So until you see it in person, don't throw away the rest of your library just yet.

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