There's another book I recently picked up, a 1947 volume by Charles Abel called Professional Portrait Lightings -- a copy just sold on eBay for $130 but they can be found for a third of that at used booksellers. The volume presents 100 portraits, each accompanied by a narrative from the photographer and a diagram of the lighting arrangement used. Few are of the Hollywood style. A number seem dated.

What impressed me about the book -- and why I bother to mention it here -- is how many of the diagrammed rigs relied on a bank of fluorescent tubes for their key lights, and also for their fills. Some were augmented by tungsten lights, others not. But the overwhelming majority used fluorescents as their principal light source.

I've been using a homemade softbox filled with compact fluorescent bulbs for a couple of years now and have been thrilled with the light it gives me for B+W portraiture. I thought I was being innovative. Little did I realize I was sixty years late to the idea.

Sanders