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  1. #1
    Pioneer's Avatar
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    Black & White book recommendation??

    I have recently started working with black and white again and I am looking for advice on some good books on the subject. Right now I am really not interested in technical books on the subject, rather I am more interested in books that may discuss how to "see" in black and white. I have been shooting color for years and I am having a really tough time recalibrating my eyesight to tones, shadows and forms. I realize it is a bit of a tall order but I thought I would throw out a feeler.

    I have several Ansel Adams books, he is obvously very good and they are helpful, but I am interested in getting more then one perspective on the craft. So other books recommendations would be much appreciated.

    Thank you in advance. And, I wouldn't doubt that this topic has probably been discussed before so any links to similar threads would also be appreciated. Unfortunately my own search skills seem to be limited.

  2. #2
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    I teach both beginning and intermediate photo at a small community college. I assign readings in this, and students seem to find it valuable:
    http://www.amazon.com/Photography-Ar.../dp/1552636143

    Patterson is a nature photographer, and keeps it pretty straight. My students, who are mainly rural, appreciate his lack of pretension.

    If you really want to chew on something, read Robert Adams' "Beauty in Photography: Essays in Defense of Traditional Values."
    Also have found "Art & Fear" by David Bayles and Ted Orloff really valuable.

    If you can't sleep, read Sontag or Barthes. Guaranteed you'll be sleeping like a baby within 15 minutes! (Actually, they are classic tomes...)
    Last edited by Jaems; 05-29-2010 at 10:28 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  3. #3

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    If you want to see in black and white, put a red filter on your camera that way the colors won't distract you. How many times have you taken a picture only to look at it later, wondering why you took it??? I began using a red or yellow filter to keep from distractions. The filters also change the contrast of the picture so you may want that or not. Yellow helps with clouds on cloudy days, makes the sky darker so the clouds show up better. The red really darkens the sky. Do you buy your film by the roll or by the foot??
    As far as books are concerned, I have about a dozen of them and none of them are the magical book, but they all have a section or two that I like so I bought them. Its funny, most of the books that I think have the most useful information are the older books. They are also the ones that have more info on using filters and more info on black and white while the later ones primarily deal with color film. Hope you find a book that works for you.
    Some of the books that I have:
    Photography by Charles Swedlund, covers a lot on basic photography, most pictures are in b&w.
    Photographic Composition by Ben Clements and David Rosenfeld, to me this one is a hard read, pretty technical, but it has a lot of good ideas and explains why things work the way they do.
    The Magic of Black and White by Kodak, another one of Kodak's primers. I have read through many parts of it, I think it is worth having.

  4. #4

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    Have a look here. <http://www.rogerandfrances.com/>
    You'll find lots of practical advice and tutorials and even a book or two.

  5. #5
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    Thank you Very Much

    This definitely gives me something to work with. I'll look through your recommendations and select a couple to get me started.

    I appreciate the advice regarding looking through a red filter but, since I'm working with a rangefinder, that really doesn't help a lot. Even though I work primarily with film I do have a small digital camera that allows me to see black and white in the LCD on the back and I've been walking around looking at various scenes this way. I have also been spending quite a bit of time looking at black and white pictures as well. This is all helping but I have found in the past that reading about something and then going out and trying it out on film is also helpful.

    Again, thanks for your quick responses.

  6. #6

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    The black and white handbook by Roger Hicks and Francis Shultz, and Creative Element by Eddie Ephraums,Richard

  7. #7
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    Find a copy of "Photography" by Upton and Upton (or London and Upton, depending on printing edition) Comprehensive guide for film photography, doting on B&W developing and printing. It covers all aspects from choosing a camera to the finished print. I have the first edition and the last, used to have several copies, my students have kept all but those two(I locked them away).
    Rick A
    Argentum aevum

  8. #8
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    - The black and white handbook by Roger Hicks and Francis Shultz, and their website !
    - National Geographic handbook Black & White, by Richard Olsenius.

    And some amazing photo's on the net:
    http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2008...e-photography/

    http://www.smashingmagazine.com/2009...photography-2/

    Depends on whether you are a visual learner, a reader or an experimenter.
    Avoid forums, lololol, unless you have a specific technical question.

    Or just google images Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Eisenstaed, Ansel Adams or whomever you prefer.
    Watch them for a while and possibly have tears run down your face.
    Last edited by AmsterdamMartin; 05-30-2010 at 06:11 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  9. #9

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    wow.

  10. #10

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    I personally got a lot out of Barry Thornton's 'Elements'. It contains some technique - and one of the best introductions to the zone system I've read, but he approaches it all in a very casual, chatty sort of a way starting from the visualisation of the image. A little eccentric in places - mid chapter he'll suddenly go off on a totally unrelated topic, but fortunately it has a good index! :-)
    Steve

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