25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2002
Les McLean has produced a wonderful book to inspire darkroom and lightroom black and white printers of every ability. He is a great photographer and master printer who is happy to share the secrets of his trade with the rest of us.
McLean is an ex Geordie miner and rock and roll player who has spent 30 years honing his skill becoming one of the foremost black and white printers. He learnt his art by his own trial and error. He now teaches in England and the United States and has, at last, been persuaded to write his first book. He debunks many of the esoteric theories and concentrates instead on the essential practical techniques needed to make expressive prints.
This book was revelatory. Its central theme is to learn to adapt our seeing by pre-visualising how our photographic tools see and record what we chose to photograph. He first demonstrates how to produce an expressive negative and then leads us to techniques to turn it into a fine print.
Although most of the book deals with traditional methods, Les recognises that the two techniques can work together to take our image making into new directions. He shows how simple it is to use and configure Photoshop to produce digital negatives and apply darkroom techniques to produce sensational images.
This is certainly the best black and white book I have read. It has blown away the cobwebs, witchcraft and confusion of other manuals. I eagerly await his next book.
on 30 September 2013
This book is my single best how to guide to printing photos the traditional way. Its thorough but not fussy, without the frills associated with books like Thornton's Elements.
I first read some of Les Mclean's guidance on his website, with an explanation of how split grade printing works, which was very clearly described, so I decided to take the plunge on this, at the bargain price of less than a roll of film.
You owe it to yourself to purchase a copy of this, if you want to expose, develop and print your own negatives.