Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
Far from expectations
on 6 April 2014
This is a strange one. There is information within that's useful, there are links to other sources to expand on the subjects, but .. and this is a big BUT for me ... the whole thing is an utter mess. Once you get to reading on a specific technique, you're gonna hunt around several pages to make any sense out of it. Nothing is organized to help you return to the few words you're going to need to refresh memory. In this respect this is one of the worst books of the kind I have seen. Ultimately it is a show down of techniques intertwined with messy and extremely un-technical layout that has a good chance of driving people away from the content. It reads like o novel, somewhat documentary and (naturally) historical in nature, but it is not a GUIDE in any sense. Again, there IS information to help you with the techniques, but published in a horrid format for the task.
Also, but this is purely personal, I don't buy the "oldy" look to the pages, it also distracts me from the content.
Having spent more time with the book I'll first reiterate the 2 star rating, I don't believe I'll ever consider going up from this.
Secondly, book is hard to read due to small type and colored page background. This along with "novel" style concept it is difficult to follow.
Thirdly, there are only handful of images of relatively large size, one on the cover, second in the "ceramic" section, and one in front of each chapter. The rest is tiny (many match box size) and most are ho-hum level. This reminds me of many alternative technique followers for whom getting an image (ANY image) is already art in the making. If you want to see anything to inspire you, you'll need to find it elsewhere. But, author doesn't fail to snap a pic of a few eggs or measuring spoons (these are NOT in alternative techniques).
Fourthly, none of pages are marked with chapter, so just a page into a new one you've lost your location. This is especially troubling, because most images aren't marked with technique they were made in.
All in all, you get a pub with information on several techniques and links to more resources. But lack of thought process and organization makes it very hard to follow.
Further, this being a "guide", you get recipes for different soups with often added "you need to experiment, change ratio from 1:3 to 1:50 to see what works for you best"... Not a single time have I noticed a formula + process + results with "this is what I used and this is what I got". Surely, old techniques were hardly about perfect formulas, but if one wants to learn from mistakes, then perhaps seeing an image with corresponding way-of-getting-there would seem to make sense, but not here.
And again, it is hard read with small type and dark background of the pages. I'd never buy this book again nor would I recommend it.
Finally, if you are into alternative processes then get the one book that matters, which is "THE BOOK OF ALTERNATIVE PHOTOGRAPHIC PROCESSES: 2nd Edition" by Christopher James. This is an eye opener by comparison to above and even at more than twice the price, it looks like a bargain.