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Photographic Possibilities: The Expressive Use of Equipment, Ideas, Materials, and Processes [Paperback]

Robert Hirsch
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Book Description

December 3, 2008 0240810139 978-0240810133 3
Photographic Possibilities, Third Edition is a marvelously updated resource of innovative and traditional photographic processes that imagemakers have come to trust and depend on to enhance their technical knowledge, create astonishing pictures, and raise their visual consciousness.

This concise and reliable handbook provides professional and advanced photography students with practical pathways of utilizing diverse photographic methods to produce engaging, expressive pictures from an informed aesthetic and conceptual position.

This update, in full color for this first time, offers new links between analog and digital photography by featuring clear, up-to-date, step-by-step instructions on topics ranging from making ambrotypes and digital negatives to pre-picturemaking activities that utilize a thinking system to visually realize what is in your mind's eye in an effective and safe manner.

This edition vividly showcases the thought-provoking work of over 140 international artists including Peter Beard, Dan Burkholder, Carl Chiarenza, Michael Kenna, Dinh Q. Lê, Joe Mills, Andrea Modica, Bea Nettles, France Scully and Mark Osterman, Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison, Holly Roberts, Martha Rosler, Mike and Doug Starn, John Sexton, Brian Taylor, Jerry Uelsmann, and Joel Peter Witkin as well as other major and emerging talents. Image captions explain how each artist technically realized their vision and concept.

All technical information and resources have been refreshed to provide the latest data for acquiring the products needed for these processes. Above all, this comprehensive reference provides field-proven know-how, encouragement, inspiration, and a profuse compendium of promising photo-based explorations one can discover and pursue.

Frequently Bought Together

Photographic Possibilities: The Expressive Use of Equipment, Ideas, Materials, and Processes + The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes + Primitive Photography: A Guide to Making Cameras, Lenses, and Calotypes
Price for all three: $164.32

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Editorial Reviews

Book Description

A cohesive and broad collection of diverse photographic processes; explore any technique in depth.

About the Author

Robert Hirsch is a photographer, writer, and the Director of Light Research ( His books include Seizing the Light: A History of Photography, Photographic Possibilities: The Expressive Use of Ideas, Materials, and Processes, and Exploring Color Photography. Hirsch is a former Associate Editor for Digital Camera (UK) and Photovision Magazine, and a contributor to Afterimage, exposure, Buffalo Spree, Fotophile, FYI, History of Photography, Ilford Photo Instructor Newsletter, and The Photo Review, as well as former Director of CEPA Gallery.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press; 3 edition (December 3, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240810139
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240810133
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #672,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Hirsch is an artist and author of Transformational Imagemaking: Handmade Photography Since 1960, Seizing the Light: A Social History of Photography; Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age; Photographic Possibilities: The Expressive Use of Equipment, Ideas, Materials, and Processes; and Exploring Color Photography: From Film to Pixels. He is the former Associate Editor for Photovision and Digital Camera magazines and a contributing writer for Afterimage, exposure, Fotophile, The History of Photography, Photo Technique, and The Photo Review among others. His visual projects, such as World in a Jar: War & Trauma, The 1960s Cubed, and Ghosts: French Holocaust Children, have been exhibited around the world. A former Executive Director and Chief Curator of CEPA Gallery, Hirsch now operates Light Research. His projects can be viewed at:

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must-Have Book on Alternative Processes February 22, 2009
Robert Hirsch's Photographic Possibilities, Third Edition, is absolutely fantastic and takes its place as the frontrunner among texts concerned with experimental photography. This new book is wonderfully updated with current information and most importantly; it's a visual and creative feast. The turn of each page is a delight for the eyes, as well as incredible inspiration for trying new techniques, exploring, playing, and taking chances with clear and precise guidance from an expert and venerable writer (See Hirsch's other books: Light and Lens: Photography in the Digital Age--the benchmark of excellence in the new hybrid world of traditional and digital imaging; Seizing the Light: A Social History of Photography- the standard of excellence in the history of photography; and Exploring Color Photography: From the Darkroom to the Digital Studio- the standout book in its field as well).

Photographic Possibilities is the most beautifully illustrated text on experimental photography available today, profusely filled with numerous wonderful images and examples of the many techniques presented in clear chapters; from elegant, antique 19th century contact printing methods like platinum and gum printing, to 21st century step-by-sep procedures using computers and inkjet printers for experimental purposes and creating enlarged negatives. The publisher obviously spent the significant funds required for reproducing every photograph in its required color and spot varnishing each image, producing a truly stunning book of beautiful pictures.

Beyond the inspiring illustrations, another strength of Photographic Possibilities is the quality of the writing.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for "alternative processes" September 27, 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I teach alternative processes and was looking for a smaller, and cheaper, version of Christopher James "The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes". While I love James' book, the cost has always made it a difficult choice to require my students to purchase, I would rather they had a bit more money for supplies to actually use some of the processes described in the book instead of just reading about them. This is where "Photographic Possibilities" comes to the rescue. Hirsch does a good job of summarizing photographic history as it relates to the use of processes in the first chapter of the book, and he keeps it interesting so even the shortest attention spans should be captivated. The rest of the book includes valuable information on classic B/W film and paper processes (face it, these are now alternative processes too), as well as discussing many of the more popular hand-coated processes like Cyanotype and Platinum/Palladium. The chapter on digital negatives is a good primer for a beginner to use, but like any textbook that includes current software and hardware, it is doomed to be out of date soon by no fault of Hirsch. The most valuable part of this textbook in my opinion is the chapter on how to actually incorporate the various processes and concepts into a work-flow that makes the best use of your materials and processes. I recommend this to any photographer wanting to expand their image making vocabulary, and instructors of alternative photography.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource January 14, 2009
Hirsch does a great job of covering the ins and outs of alternative photography. This book is a great resource for doing everything from acrylic lifts to palladium/platinum printing to high speed developing times.

Great, great, thorough book.
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