Black and White Handbook

ChrisR

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... by Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz... is it a good book to get? Still available second hand, I think.

I do have The Camera and The Negative by the sainted Ansel already!
 

StephenM

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Reasonable, but I'm not certain you'd learn a lot from it. You can borrow my copy if you want to.

A lot depends on what you're looking for.
 
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ChrisR

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TBH I want a book I can put under my pillow at night, so that when I wake up I will take much better black and white photos! (just like I wanted at Uni 55 years ago!).

I'm just a REALLY slow learner!
 
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John Blakemore's "Black & White Photography Workshop". I think it's out of print now and thus sells for silly money, but I did notice a certain auction site had someone selling it for non-money grabbing prices. Auction though so you take your chances...

Very good book and a good accompaniment to Adam's trilogy.

Edit - I didn't read the OP properly and thought you were asking for recommendations... Sorry!
 
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simon ess

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TBH I want a book I can put under my pillow at night, so that when I wake up I will take much better black and white photos! (just like I wanted at Uni 55 years ago!).

I'm just a REALLY slow learner!
I've said it before and I'll say it again; I highly recommend that you study the use of tone in painting and drawing.
 

Peter B

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... by Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz... is it a good book to get? Still available second hand, I think.

I do have The Camera and The Negative by the sainted Ansel already!
Does this mean that you're OK with the Zone System or are looking to escape from it? I've found that most b&w books follow one path or the other with much talk of personal film speeds and the like, so it would help to know how deep you want to go on this. I've tried it in the past without ever getting on top of it, so I can appreciate where you are just now. A lot of them also assume you'll be doing your own printing as well. :banghead:
 
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... by Roger Hicks and Frances Schultz... is it a good book to get? Still available second hand, I think.

I do have The Camera and The Negative by the sainted Ansel already!
I used to have a copy which I purchased from a charity shop, read and then re-donated.

As far as I can remember, it was fine, but not radically different to several other books.

My recommendation is "The Art of Photography - an approach to personal expression" by Bruce Barnbaum.
 

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@ChrisR Somewhat off-topic I'm afraid, but there's a guy with a portfolio on Photorio mainly of street and festival photos from Edinburgh in b&w. I don't know what his techniques have been over the years, but he seems to have mastered the art of producing great results from common films and chemistry. :notworthy::notworthy:
 

Asha

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I find it more fun to do the practical ( ie expose the film, develop, make prints) and learn from the mistakes than to try study and go out carrying 10kg of kit plus a degree on how to use it.

Sure some reading is necessary to learn certain aspects of photography and / or to get an Idea of what we may have done wrong when confronted with a poor result but being a slow learner not unlike yourself Chris, the practical cock ups enable me to learn much quicker and in a more enjoyable** way than reading.

**enjoyable in so far as doing the part of photography that interests me the most..... actuallyusing the kit and going through all the physical stages thereafter.

If I had to turn my photography into an academic exercise, I would pack it in!
 
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ChrisR

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Thanks everyone for your comments and suggestions.
I haven't read that one but can recommend Mastering Black and White photography by John Garrett
Quite hard to find; the book of the same title by John Walmsley also looks rather good!
TBH I want a book I can put under my pillow at night, so that when I wake up I will take much better black and white photos! (just like I wanted at Uni 55 years ago!).

I'm just a REALLY slow learner!
The first part was joking, second part is true!
John Blakemore's "Black & White Photography Workshop". I think it's out of print now and thus sells for silly money, but I did notice a certain auction site had someone selling it for non-money grabbing prices. Auction though so you take your chances...

Very good book and a good accompaniment to Adam's trilogy.

Edit - I didn't read the OP properly and thought you were asking for recommendations... Sorry!
No worries, Ian. Does look a good book, but you're right about the prices. All the abebook copies are £65 or so (it's also Ama$on, so no). I did find one on the bay for £35. The prices do suggest it's in demand, so a book people want. I've seen Blakemore's work before but looked again; I really like his stuff!
I've said it before and I'll say it again; I highly recommend that you study the use of tone in painting and drawing.
Good point. "Study", by looking mostly, or are there some books you could recommend?
Does this mean that you're OK with the Zone System or are looking to escape from it? I've found that most b&w books follow one path or the other with much talk of personal film speeds and the like, so it would help to know how deep you want to go on this. I've tried it in the past without ever getting on top of it, so I can appreciate where you are just now. A lot of them also assume you'll be doing your own printing as well. :banghead:
I've not managed to get anywhere with the Zone system; I do have a spot meter but have never used it in making a photo! My "technique" is roughly, find something that sings to me as a subject, move the camera around until I get a satisfying composition, press shutter. And yes, I do often (but not always) forget to think carefully about aperture, shutter speed, filters, etc! :(
My recommendation is "The Art of Photography - an approach to personal expression" by Bruce Barnbaum.
Thanks Kevin. Another recommendation I'd not heard of. Quite mixed reviews on goodreads!
@ChrisR Somewhat off-topic I'm afraid, but there's a guy with a portfolio on Photorio mainly of street and festival photos from Edinburgh in b&w. I don't know what his techniques have been over the years, but he seems to have mastered the art of producing great results from common films and chemistry. :notworthy::notworthy:
Edinburgh is an absolute gift for black and white photography, and the festival even more so, specially with a slightly longer lens (eg 85/2).
I find it more fun to do the practical ( ie expose the film, develop, make prints) and learn from the mistakes than to try study and go out carrying 10kg of kit plus a degree on how to use it.

Sure some reading is necessary to learn certain aspects of photography and / or to get an Idea of what we may have done wrong when confronted with a poor result but being a slow learner not unlike yourself Chris, the practical cock ups enable me to learn much quicker and in a more enjoyable** way than reading.

**enjoyable in so far as doing the part of photography that interests me the most..... actuallyusing the kit and going through all the physical stages thereafter.

If I had to turn my photography into an academic exercise, I would pack it in!
Yes, this is closer to what I do, but I'm not good at learning from my mistakes! At least, I have to learn from the same mistakes many times over.

And yes it's the whole physical process I enjoy. BUT, from time to time, I also like to read a book about it, which sometimes causes me to think a bit harder about what I'm doing! Far from an academic exercise...

This thread was started because my daughter wants to buy me a present; somewhere I'd seen the Hicks/Schulz book recommended, and I wanted to know what folk thought. In that context, the recommendations have also been very helpful. Thanks again.
 
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Thanks Kevin. Another recommendation I'd not heard of. Quite mixed reviews on goodreads!
It's another great book. I'd heartily recommend. I even have Bruce on my sig :)
 
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TBH I want a book I can put under my pillow at night, so that when I wake up I will take much better black and white photos! (just like I wanted at Uni 55 years ago!).

I'm just a REALLY slow learner!
Apparently that works with The Decisive Moment, but only the first edition, which is why the originals are so expensive.
 

Peter B

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No worries, Ian. Does look a good book, but you're right about the prices. All the abebook copies are £65 or so (it's also Ama$on, so no). I did find one on the bay for £35. The prices do suggest it's in demand, so a book people want. I've seen Blakemore's work before but looked again; I really like his stuff!
If the auction one goes above your daughter's budget, you can borrow my copy Chris.
 

simon ess

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Good point. "Study", by looking mostly, or are there some books you could recommend?
I don't know of any books that deal with tonal value specifically. It's an integral part of learning to draw and paint. Lots of Youtube videos about it though.

My "technique" is roughly, find something that sings to me as a subject, move the camera around until I get a satisfying composition, press shutter. And yes, I do often (but not always) forget to think carefully about aperture, shutter speed, filters, etc! :(
Try spending a roll of film looking purely at tonal contrast, nothing else. (or use a, ahem, digi.)
 

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h tonal value specifically. It's an integral part of learning to draw and paint.
Well I was absolutely useless at art drawing and painting at school, so much so I was top of the class for irritating the teacher with my inabilities and 'lack of eye' for anything.

Fast forward 40+ years and little has changed, clearly evident in my photos :crying:

Perhaps I should try and find my old art teacher to show him some of my work to prove that although a hopeless case; I have been consistantly hopeless :ROFLMAO:
 

simon ess

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Another thing to look at is old black and white films.

Notice how the tones range from black, nearly to white, nearly.

It sometimes approaches genius.
 
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Might have a look for the book by Roger Hicks et al - sorely missed from AP. Always had interesting contributions in the mag and on the forum.

My b&w photography in the 1960’s and, latterly all on film ( fp4 / hp5 ) and home developed and now scanned are uniformly mediocre even by my low standards.

I actually like other peoples monochrome shots - whether film or digital. The best that I have got are with a nikon 1 v1.

Some learning is called for - even at this late stage.
 
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ChrisR

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StephenM

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Probably a typo, but there's a long tradition in science publishing of well known texts being updated/rewritten by others. As an example, I have a book whose cover reads "Coulson's Valence, third edition, by Roy McWeeny".
 
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