BOOK REVIEW: Way Beyond Monochrome Ed 2 by Ralph Lambrecht and Chris Woodhouse
Disclaimer: This book is intended for use by photographers who have a basic working knowledge of exposure and who have processed film and made optical prints. It is beyond basic and seems to be intended for the advanced hobbyist on up to the professional who wants a fresh look at Black and White analog capture. That being said. . .
Way Beyond Monochrome Edition 2 fills what I feel to be an important gap in technical information pertaining to many aspects of Black and White film photography. Before 2003, your most current sources have been the books by Ansel Adams (The Camera, The Negative and The Print), Henry Horenstein's books (Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual and Beyond Basic Photography), Minor White's The New Zone System Manual and Phil Davis' Beyond The Zone System, to name but a few. All of these are still very relevant to film photography and should be a part of your library as they are mine. However, all are out of print with the exception of Adams' trilogy. And that is only a reprinting of 25 year old information for the most part.
Ralph Lambrecht and Chris Woodhouse have now kicked photographic reference materials up a notch. The sheer size of this books bespeaks the amount of information one might hope to find within and upon opening to the table of contents one will not be disappointed. This, the 2nd edition (the first published in early 2003) has been filled with extensive coverage of most aspects of Black and White analog photography.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Part 1 The Basics
From Visualization to Print
Fundamental Print Control
Presentation Is Everything
Part 2 The Science
Advanced Print Control
Part 3 Odds and Ends
Equipment and Facilities
Tools, Tips and Tricks
Appendix/Glossary/Biblio and Index
This short list is but a taste of the topics covered within the 542 pages. More than enough detail is included to busy the photographer who wishes to improve their craft for a long, long time. Split-grade printing, print toning, zone system, process control, how the human eye sees and the brain perceives visual input, pinhole photography, tables and tools, graphs and curves, examples of techniques, mounting and matting prints, make your own test strip printer. The list goes on and on and this list does not do the material covered justice. It is all laid out in a concise manner that is simple to use for quick reference or for self-education.
I cannot express how invaluable I find this resource. As mentioned above, and as I am sure many of you have done, I have accumulated a lot of theory and how-to photography books over the years from many different time periods covering all manner of topics. And perhaps this is initial excitement over the acquisition of a most excellent book. But that does not deny its excellence. WBM2 should be a part of any aspiring photographer's library. It is the same price new as are the three books of Adams' trilogy and with every bit as much information, excepting only beginner info on exposure, etc. This review may seem to be nothing but praise. Well, it is. I find everything right with the book. There are some nudes as examples so this should be considered when purchasing for a younger photographer.
Ralph and Chris have given us such a great gift in Way Beyond Monochrome Ed2. I hope that you will take advantage of it. You will not regret it.
Last edited by Christopher Walrath; 12-27-2010 at 07:17 PM. Click to view previous post history.
The first edition was a very welcome addition to an aging set of references. The new edition is just as welcome, and more importantly, available!
(Vestal's "The Art of Black and White Enlarging" was a good one too.)
I recommend both titles to all my students interested in moving ahead in their darkroom endeavours.
Last edited by Dave Swinnard; 12-27-2010 at 06:18 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Thanks for that recommendation, Dave. I don't have Vestal's book but have heard good things about it. I might just have to pick one up if I can find it.
I pre-ordered this book as well and am 'working my way through it' so to speak. I find the practical applications valuable and the theory behind the works is excellent. It is not a 'fast read' in many ways, and you do have to understand the basics in an applicable way - but it was worth it to me and will be more valuable as time goes on, I'm sure of that. Thanks for the review and thanks to Ralph and Chris for getting the fire to get it republished and updated.
So far I have reviewed chunks here and there but I intend to treat it like a textbook and go through it in order as I were in a classroom setting. It is a great book.
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Just a correction to your first post. Henry Horenstein's excellent "Black and White Photography: A Basic Manual" is still in print. It's a great place to start for beginners. It is also one of the few film-oriented instruction books you can usually find on the shelf at a big box bookstore.
I also am glad to have Ralph's new book. It's great to have an updated edition of this very comprehensive resource.
Thank you for the correction and you are right. Slipped my mind. I do recall seeing it at B&N recently.
Thank you Chris. I am planning on doing more work in the darkroom in 2011 and just ordered this book. I am stoked and look forward to leaning more so that I can to get the best out of my 8x10 Durst. Jon
Everyone has a constitutional right to be an idiot; that does not mean you should exercise your right!
Glad you liked the write. Again, this book just glosses the basics, assuming the reader has some experience. But it goes, well, WAY BEYOND those basics in great depth. You won't be disappointed.
This is what I did with ed.1, and I learned an awful lot about darkroom in particular, and photography in general.
Originally Posted by Christopher Walrath
Now, I'm looking for a good reason to buy ed.2... guess I'll find a way to justify this !
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