on 16 February 2013
I have been interested in Alternative Photographic processes for 15 years and this is the most interesting and thorough book I have read. As an artist it inspires, as a teacher of alternative processes I have found it great refrence material... I can't wait to try some new processes and perfect some I have been doing for years but Christopher James has many receipies for the one process depending on your prefered outcome. He is very thorough and also amusing to read.. If you are interested in this topic you will absaloutly love this book.
on 12 April 2014
I went first for Jill Enfield's "Guide to Photographic Alternative Processes", which turned out a near waste of money. I thought I'd save by going that way only to realize it's not even close to making the cut.
James' book is a gem in every way. I was hesitant to spend as the third edition is just a few months away from hitting stores. Still, I think I'll enjoy this a bit before getting the next bigger and larger version.
The Book ... is extremely well written with excellent historical background on each method and a ton of advice. Images are first class to the point it makes you wanna go and make it happen all the same. Overall I don't think there is anything of this kind on the market that covers just about every corner of alternative techniques.
I'd say this is the bible for everyone interested in these techniques, whether starting out or already deeply involved.
on 3 November 2014
Wow! This is a huge, detailed, excellent book about how to do old photographic printing processes such as cyanotype, kallitype, platinum prints and far too many others to name. This book may be just a paperback but it has a phenomenal number of pages. It covers everything you will need in far more detail than you will ever need! I would say the writing style expects the reader to settle in and read it - it is not just concise bullet points, more a definitive, exhaustive "tome". If you are prepared to devote time to reading, you will find this a truly excellent book. It is the definitive "bible" in the field - but of course it is not cheap.
Perhaps your choice, dear purchaser, is whether to buy this or "Guide Alternative Photographic Processes" by Jill Enfield. The Jill Enfield book is equally good, and also quite detailed - just not as detailed as this James book. The two books are actually quite similar in terms of writing style and coverage, it's just that this James book has even more of everything. However it is almost three times the price. So if you want everything you need at a reasonable price, the Jill Enfield book could be the one to get. But if you want the ultimate lengthy detail and are prepared to read it - and are prepared to spend the money - this James book is the ultimate book in this field. They are both excellent so you can't really go wrong. This James book has a new edition in 2015 (third edition), so perhaps if you want the latest and most detailed book, that third edition of this book is the ultimate one to own.
on 6 September 2011
This book is quite simply inspirational. One of the best photography books I've ever read. Packed with detail, very comprehensive and full of historical insights into the development of photographic technique. it's also full of great examples of artists currently working in alternative techniques which I found really interesting. If it's not in this book it's not worth knowing.
on 28 August 2015
I have this book and it is excellent - Christopher James clearly knows his stuff and his enthusiasm comes out clearly. There is a lot of detail, its lovely to have some history and it covers a wide range of things. Particularly valuable are the bits on chemical safety - so if you read the bits about the chemicals you need, you are unlikely to be taken by surprise by any nasty fumes or powders, or you can decide to use a different technique or buy ready mixed chemicals if you don't have the skills or a place to mix them.
My only gripe really is that it is difficult to quickly get information out of the book - you need to sit and read it really. I would like a table in there with a summary of the different types of processes, the needs for them and some examples - so that I can find a process that suits my situation and then spend more time looking at it. That said, its a small gripe really.
Christopher is certainly keen for you to develop you own style and ways of doing things within the bounds of chemistry and possibility. This isn't a book telling you how it should be done - but a book telling you what can be done and letting you decide where to go with it. That is excellent and there are many examples to challenge and interest you. If you have an interest in alternative photography, its an excellent book all round.
on 11 June 2013
I bought this book as a gift to my partner and it's even better than I read in the other reviews!!!
It's quite easy to follow, full of different techniques, quite explanatory, very detailed... Well, it's a must have to all those that like photography and would like to try different techniques!
I strongly recommend it! (By the way, my partner also loved it!) ;-)