Way Beyond Monochrome
Ralf Lambrecht, Chris Woodhouse
26 x 26 cm
Way Beyond Monochrome is a book that since its first appearance in 2001 arose to the role of a real must have for all those devoted to the fine art print, both amateur and professional; updated in 2010 to take account of developments in camera systems and digital print, keeps in any case, even in this second edition an impression purely analog.
The book is full bodied (542 pages), printed on quality card that highlights the many inserted pictures and, especially, is fraught with theoretical and practical knowledge about the entire shooting, developing and printing, not to mention more general references physical and optical laws; not for nothing, the text opens with a brief study on the physiology of the eye and on the theory of vision. The first section of the volume continues with the basics about printing and presentation of prints, before leaving space to the second part, aptly titled “The Science”; Here are exposed clearly theoretical and practical rules that follow a common thread: prefix to the player to achieve a level of mastery of the whole process of producing an image that you can create easily and knowledgeably fine art prints of exceptional quality. We will find a modern discussion of the zone system, though not extensive as that of Adams, an in-depth guide to sensitometry-related specs and several practical techniques exposed in great. As a plus, about 50 pages of images, returned, as mentioned, perfectly from coated paper, illustrating the above in the “theoretical”, clearly showing which is the degree of control of the process that the authors want to convey to readers. The third part of the book, not least, closes with helpful tips ans tricks on traditional darkroom equipment, offering some interesting examples of DIY and illustrating more new special techniques. No less useful are the formulas and tables in the Appendix, which are real close to the text.
Ultimately, the book definitely keeps the promises and fully applies (even more) its price; Certainly, it is one of those classic that can not miss in the library of the printer, or even a simple analogue photography enthusiast, like Adams trilogy or our manuals Osca Ghedina. The format (26 x 26 cm square) is quite impressive and the typographic quality overall, as mentioned, excellent and there was to be expected if you know the Focal Press publications. The only drawback (for Italian speaking readers, of course) is the availability in English only, which could restrain many from buying: Unfortunately, to date there is no translated Edition. If the language is not a problem, instead, Way Beyond Monochrome should be your next purchase.