Looking for a good book to learn how to print
a few months ago, inspired by reading this forum, I have started developing my own BW (35mm only). A good companion to me to start this new "adventure" has been Ansel Adams book "The negative".
As the time passes, I feel more and more tempted to start doing my own prints as well (not always excited about the prints I get from the lab, and even less from the digital prints I get from my scanned negs).
Before I start looking for new equipment to buy (enlarger, etc...), I would love to start reading from a trusted book about it. Since I enjoyed reading "The Negative", I was thinking about "The Print", always from A.A. Would you recommend it too? Any other books to suggest? Consider that this should contain some kind of "getting started" information, since I have never done it before.
Last edited by sterioma; 03-21-2005 at 07:17 AM. Click to view previous post history.
I would recommend "The Print" as well as Les Mcleans "Creative Black and White Photography".
The best "how to do B&W printing" book I've seen is Tim Rudman's "The Photographer's Master Printing Course" which is very detailed, has many great tips I haven't seen elsewhere and still manages to be a good read.
The best "start-to-finish B&W photography" book I've seen is Les McLean's "Creative Black and White Photography" especially for the sections on previsualisation, film testing and the excellent case studies.
If I had to choose one... ...I'd still buy both!
All the best,
The basic technical aspects of making decent prints can be learned in two hours (and that is if you are a slow learner). That is the typical time they provide in any "Photo 101" class. Ansel's The Print can teach you more about the enlarging process. One article that was very helpful to me was Michael A. Smith's, "ON PRINTING And why there in no such thing as a difficult negative to print," which can be found under the "Writings" section of thier website (www.michaelandpaula.com). Even though he only makes contact prints, his methods and approach can be aplied aross the board in making fine prints.
The most important thing you need to learn in regards to printing is how to aproach the print as an object. It is easy enough to get black, white and greys in between, but making a balanced photograph is a little more difficult. Most pictures in the Apug galleries need slight tweaking to be "right on" (you may think otherwise by reading the comments posted by others--).
The second most important thing in learning how to make a good print is in the evaluation of tones, and how they relate to each other. To learn what a great print is you one must usually go to a museum and look carefuly through prints by Edward and Brett Weston, (early) Ansel Adams, (early) Harry Callahan, Aaron Siskind, and early Strand (if you can find them). Even though it is a different process, still look at work by 19th century photographs like Carlton Watkins and Eugene Atget (the most beautiful print I have ever seen was by Atget). That is only a starting point. From getting to know those photographers, you can have a better feeling for what good prints are from modern (contemporary) photographers. And still more importantly, you have a good basis for comparison when it comes time to making your own photographs.
I would certainly support the above suggestions and would add "Black& WHite Phtographic Printing Workshop by Larryk Bartlett and Jon Tarrant.
This book is just about printing.With 100's of samples with printing maps.
I own all of the above and find them outstanding, drop by the library or a very good book store, or perhaps a photo shop that carriers books and see which fits your need.
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Hey Stefano, check out the thread I started some time ago:
I am pretty happy with my books so far.
Real photographs, created in camera, 100% organic,
no digital additives and shit
I would add David Vestal's "Art of Black and White Enlarging" to the list.
"I am an anarchist." - HCB
"I wanna be anarchist." - JR
I like Les' book - I have many and his is the one I'd keep
Originally Posted by mikeb_z5
My photos are always without all that distracting color ...
Thanks everybody for your suggestions and comments. I have searched on the Internet for every book that you have suggested and all seem very good readings.
Based on the availability and cost, I think I will get a copy of both "The Print" and "Creative Black and White Photography" from amazon.co.uk.
In this country many local colleges, high schools, and trade schools offer multiple week darkroom courses. Some are for full time students, some are for the public. You would have to see if it is the same there.
For me there was great pleasure in doing the work in the darkroom, examining the results with the teacher, making changes on the spot to make improvements, comparing my work with my classmates. Darkroom work becomes very personal and often private. At the start it is often helpful to share the success and sometimes the errors with people who can solve the problems immediately. Then as the basics become known your personal art can take over. At that point I found a little privacy helped me think so I built a darkroom at home.
Good luck and enjoy however you do it.