Recommended books on enlarging/printing?

Discussion in 'Enlarging' started by DavidBrunell, Aug 13, 2012.

  1. DavidBrunell

    DavidBrunell Member

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    Hi all, I am new to enlarging. I am interested in making prints with my Beseler 67c...I have ordered all the materials and chemistry needed including paper and VC filters. I have my cart loaded up at Amazon with some books. I would like to hear your opinions and recommendations on the best and most comprehensive "how to" books for wet darkroom printing please.
     
  2. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    Ansel Adams's The Print. It's all you really need to get started. Other photographers then took that book, changed/personalized a few procedures to make them more convoluted, and sold their own books.

    Combined with Adams, for the most up-to-date processing procedures with current materials (development, fixation, washing, toning), I would also strongly suggest looking at the technical publications/downloads from Ilford (and Kodak even though Kodak doesn't make printing papers anymore).

    Ilford has a very good primer on printing with variable contrast papers/filters (this is where Adams doesn't have as much to say since at that time most serious printers still used graded papers).

    This is the best way to get started and will take you VERY far with practice and work. Once you are more experienced, there are then some other techniques you can add (like split/multiple contrast printing and masking). But I would not recommend looking at any of that at this point. Even if you eventually want to learn those techniques, you'll find you don't need entire additional printing books as they are most often incomplete when it comes to advanced techniques anyway. Specific articles, publications, and workshops are far better for things like that.
     
  3. ann

    ann Subscriber

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    Find a copy of Larry Barrtlet's Black and White Photography Printing Workshop, also Les Mclean's Creative Black and White Photography
     
  4. Dave Swinnard

    Dave Swinnard Subscriber

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    If you can find a copy, check David Vestal's Craft of Photography (1978), and the followup, The Art of Black and White Enlarging (1984). Both from a time when enlarging and printing were BIG things. Hard to find (?) but very much worth it. Not just mashups of older books reformatted into modern trendy colourful picture laden tomes.

    (just my 2 cents worth...)
     
  5. DavidBrunell

    DavidBrunell Member

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    Thanks for the fast replies. I have Adams' series and have read it a few times. Really helped me with choosing the correct materials...I am going to investigate those two ANN.
     
  6. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    I can also recommend Barry Thorntons Books, though they are hard to get now. They are called "Elements" and "Edge of Darkness". The latter may be going a little bit too much into depth for a beginner, but every page is worth reading and his writing style is very enjoyable.
     
  7. Brook Hill

    Brook Hill Subscriber

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    Tim Rudman's Master Printing Course is excellent, very practical and comprehensive.

    Tony
     
  8. R.Gould

    R.Gould Member

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    Eddie Ephrams Creative Elements is a great book which combines both the taking of great photographs and all the darkroom elements you will ever need, great photographs with full taking details and the details of how he got to the final print in the first section, and every darkroom secret you will ever use in the second section.
    Richard
     
  9. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Subscriber

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  10. Rick A

    Rick A Subscriber

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    Photographic Printing, by Ralph Hattersley, is a good place to start. As suggested before, Ansel Adams, but get all three books, The Camera, TheNegative, and The Print to get a thorough understanding of what it takes to get to a good print.
     
  11. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual, Henry Horenstein (Author)*
     
  12. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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  13. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    +1

    Happily, they've become easier to find recently - search for author David Vestal on AbeBooks. I just did and saw multiple copies of both available inexpensively.
     
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  15. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    All great recommendations! One I haven't seen mentioned yet and it may be my favorite for printing.. "The Elements of Black and White Printing" by Carson Graves. Excellent book on printing! My other highly recommended books would be "Way Beyond Monochrome Ed 2" of course, Les McLean's "Creative Black and White Photography," Barry Thorton's "Edge of Darkness," and George Todd's "Elements of Black and White Photography." I have a huge library and reference it quite frequently. I have all the books mentioned so far in this thread and it's great to have them for reference. Have fun starting your library!
     
  16. DavidBrunell

    DavidBrunell Member

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    Wow, nice...Just ordered (5) of the mentioned books from Abebooks.com which has great prices!!! Thanks all very much.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2012
  17. Gerald C Koch

    Gerald C Koch Member

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    An older book but still a useful one as it explains some things not found in other books. J G Lootens, On Photographic Enlarging and Print Quality, Amphoto (New York: 1967). Amazon has used copies.
     
  18. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    My recommendation is, "Photography" by Barbara London and John Upton. This is a book written primary to be a college textbook so the latest version is incredibly expensive. You can get older editions for close to nothing. They didn't change all that much except for digital related content.

    This is a book on photography, not just printing in darkroom. It will give you a pretty good overview of the entire photography "business".

    If you are just starting out, my recommendation is to start simply. Ansel's books and "Way beyond" books are great but if you don't know the basics, you may get lost in them. Conversely, if you are already familiar with the basics, "Photography" may not give you what you want.

    If you are in US and think this may be the right book for you, I have an old copy that I can give it to you for free if you want to pay for shipping.
     
  19. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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    in case you still have money left in your book budget, here is small subsection of my 200+ photography library:
     
  20. Michael R 1974

    Michael R 1974 Subscriber

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    One thing I'll raise at this point, considering OP is starting out, perhaps one or maybe two books is enough. Start there, and instead of spending the extra $1,000 on a library at this point, use that money to take a workshop after you've got some of the basics down and some practice.

    I'm saying this because I have found no matter how in-depth, voluminous and detailed my personal library might be, I recall very few books which didn't leave me with further questions when I was learning, not mention all the contradictions from one book to the next. And often it can really help more to watch someone do things and be in the room to answer questions as you go.

    Even a basic book like The Print in the Time Life photography series would be a good start in that case. Reading too many technical books at the beginning can simply overcomplicate things and prevent you from doing.

    Best to keep the technical stuff simple (says a guy who's wasted way too much time on technicalities). In fact if I look at my total photography library, I can honestly say I learnt at least as much, possibly more about printing from the non-technical books (monographs by Tice, Sexton, Adams etc). When it comes to the technical books, aside from Adams, and a few idiosyncratic things here and there in other books, there isn't much else required. The rest of it is largely just interesting reading.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 14, 2012
  21. RalphLambrecht

    RalphLambrecht Subscriber

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  22. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    Larry Bartlett's book, Bruce Barnbaum's book and Tim Rudman's Master Printing course is all that you need. By far by favorites. I probably ought to sell all the rest!
     
  23. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    I've seen most of the books recommended above, and they are all quite good. The Adams and Rudman books may be the most available; the Thornton book has a lot of good, practical tips, but it is quite oriented to Thornton's style of doing things - maybe not yours. That's the problem with advanced printing books. Everyone has his own style of doing things. You need to explore several sources to adapt the information to your own style. Prowling used book stores can be a great source. I found an old book by Lootens last year that was outstanding.
     
  24. DavidBrunell

    DavidBrunell Member

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    Good advice and excellent reccomendations, thank you all.
     
  25. Trond

    Trond Subscriber

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    Perhaps you should have a look at Gene Nocon's "Photographic Printing". In my opinion a very useful and straightforward introduction to printing.

    Out of print, but available second hand from amazon.com.

    Trond
     
  26. dorff

    dorff Member

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    I can echo Tim Rudman's book, and I also quite like John Blakemore's Black and White Photography Workshop. Also, read a lot of books on the genre - one learns a great deal by looking at photographs and reading the story behind them. Time Life's The Print is one such example, having the virtue of not being limited to one style or vision. The dedicated teaching books, like Rudman's, are however the best for understanding the basics of printing, the properties of paper etc. Ctein's free download is also quite useful, although perhaps a bit more advanced and technical in nature, even. I also have Way Beyond Monochrome II, and can say it finally helped me to understand how to use contrast for VC papers in a predictable manner to get the result I want. In hindsight it is simple and straightforward, but few if any other resources explain it as elegantly for a relative beginner. It is a good general resource, too. Since you have Adams's The Print, you can start there and then the rest may make more sense. Notably, two things have changed since that book was written: Variable Contrast paper, and newer film emulsions and developers. T-grain films and developers such as Xtol and Caffenol did not exist in his time, and although that is not exactly directly related to printing, the quality of your negative is relevant. A good resource on modern film characteristics and developers will also help with printing. The Darkroom Cookbook and Film Developing Cookbook duo is an extremely valuable resource in that respect, so if you do not own them, if I were you they would be high on my list.