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Black & White Photography Field Guide Paperback – 29 Apr 2013
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The art of creating digital monochrome.
About the Author
Michael Freeman, professional photographer and best-selling author, was born in England in 1945, took a Masters in Geography at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and then worked in advertising in London for six years. In 1971 he made the life-changing decision to travel up the Amazon with two secondhand cameras, and when Time-Life used many of the pictures he came back with, he embarked on a full-time photographic career.
Since then, working for clients that include all the world's major magazines, most notably the Smithsonian Magazine (for which he has shot more than 40 stories over 30 years), Freeman's reputation as one of the world's leading reportage photographers has been consolidated. Of his many books, which have sold over 4 million copies worldwide, more than 60 titles are on the practice of photography. For this photographic educational work he was awarded the Prix Louis Philippe Clerc by the French Ministry of Culture.
Freeman's books on photography have been translated into 27 languages.
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It's by Michael Freeman - who needs no introduction to any British-based photographer since the 80s. I am therefore sure that it is technically sound.
However, it is also a treatise rather than a field guide. So I'm puzzled by the title? It's really interesting, possibly more 'high brow' than many practical photographers would expect, but essential reading (more like a textbook) for students of photography and photographic artists.
But why is it printed in this format? You wouldn't take it 'in the field' and, besides, it appears to have simply been shrunk from a larger format. Down the outer edge of the pages is a grey tab system to divide the book into sections. The printing on these tabs give the game away - it is SO small that no-one could seriously be expected to read it. The bulk of the text is certainly not that easy to read - one of those whole page magnifiers that they sell to the elderly in Sunday newspapers might be helpful regardless of your age.
The page layout is also odd. There's very little difference between the inside margins and the outside, whereas normally a publisher would have larger inner ones to allow the book to open comfortably. A fault that many self-publishers often make is to encroach on the binding too much or leave too little on the outer edges, but this is obviously not an amateur publisher.
The illustrations, of which there are many which is good, seem to have been reproduced in a tint close to sepia. Which is strikingly bizarre for a book on BLACK AND WHITE photography.
So, all in all, a potentially interesting book by a highly respected author - if only it was readable.
Secondly I was looking for a book to improve my conversion of colour digital photographs to black and white images. This book certainly does give a lot of clear instructions on how to go about but this task but in addition it covers the field much more widely - the history of photography, the work of famous black and white photographers, the adoption of colour images by magazines and news papers, the relationship of photography and art , how to appraise colour images and their suitability for black and white conversion etc etc.
All in all a very instructive work and good value.
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