I obviously mentioned them but not explicitly:

  • Anchell, Steve and Bill Troop. The Film Developing Cookbook. Focal Press : 1999. 163 pages.
  • Anchell, Steve. The Darkroom Cookbook. 3rd Ed. Focal Press: 2008. 392 pages.
  • Hutchins, Gordon. The Book of Pyro. Bitter Dog Press: 1992. 100 pages


The first two are essentially boiled-down, practical formulations of a lot of knowledge that one can find in Haist, in the Photo-Lab index, and similar works quoted above, but they are totalizing in the sense that, for the general practitioner, they can suffice as touchstones.

The FDC is laudable for its exhaustive, though concise categorization of films, developers, and chemicals. It's often the first eye-opener for the film enthusiast who has been wondering all along why there are many similar products on the shelves. For me, it gave me my basic understanding of photo chemistry, the parameters which actually enabled me to follow Haist without getting lost.

The DC is like a zoom-out from the FDC: spending less time on the intricacies of film, it gives you the broader picture of darkroom work, and how things relate to each other. Since the Photo-Lab Index is now out of print, it's also the most exhaustive, non-Internet list of formulae with commentary that you will find in print.

I have some beefs here and there with Anchell, since he sometimes moves into editorializing mode, and is also sometimes victim to the rumour, but he's forgiven for the value of his contribution.

I don't have much to say, in conclusion on the BoP, since I haven't read it, but it strikes me as yet another book with a totalizing enterprise: to communicate all that can be known on the topic of pyro developers. I might get it one day, not necessarily to switch to pyro, but to learn about this developer's lore and mystique.