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The Art of Black and White Photography: Techniques for Creating Superb Images in a Digital Workflow Hardcover – May 30, 2008

16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1933952277 ISBN-10: 193395227X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Rocky Nook; 1 edition (May 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 193395227X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933952277
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,655,631 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By T. Campbell on June 2, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a welcome volume for B&W photogs and a useful read for color photographers from another fine German photographer/author. This is Hoffmann's first instructional book to be published in English, although he has had numerous articles on image design/composition published in the magazine "Leica Fotographie International", or LFI, which, by the way, is not published by Leica-Camera GMBH.

Hoffmann emphasizes the possibilities in tonal manipulation in digital and analogue photographing. The point of his presentation is always to show how manipulating the tones and, therefore, contrast, contributes to the design of the image with respect to the photographer's intentions. He spends a significant amount of space on showing how to elicit mood in various kinds of photographs (content).

His chapters start with, what I find to be, rather interesting summaries of the chapter topic's history, significant practitioners, and current directions. Then he examines several of his own images in detail. His commentary on an image concentrates on the visual structure and on the darkroom and/or digital manipulations necessary to realize his intentions. The only other book that comes to mind for nearly such excellence in pictorial descriptions or captions is the first edition of Bill Smith's "Designing a Photograph," which sets the standard for applying the Gestalt visual psychological approach to analyzing image structure.

Rather differently from the other two top volumes on image structure currently in print, Michael Freeman's "The Photographer's Eye," and Harald Mante's "The Photograph," Hoffmann spends significant time looking at the various genres of photographic subject matter and then covers composing/design from the point of view of visual tensions and abstract structure.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By vQ on January 9, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This book has a couple of very positive reviews at Amazon, and then a few not so enthusiastic. If you're tempted to buy it, be sure to (a) think carefully through your expectations, and (b) make an effort to examine the book in advance, best directly in your hand, before you decide to invest in it. The book is not amazing, and you need to judge how the good and bad sides balance wrt. your needs.

"The Art of Black and White Photography: Techniques for Creating Superb Images in a Digital Workflow" is about black and white photography, somewhat less about 'the art', despite the author's obvious intentions. It is not so much about 'superb images', despite the author's obvious opinion about his works. The 'digital workflow' part is a cruel joke.

Why you MIGHT want to read (but not necessarily buy) the book:

1. There are a few interesting, both content- and form-wise images there. You might hope to learn how to compose, shoot, and process such images.

2. The narrative is smooth, understandable, and, most of the time, of a strong personal character, proving the author's emotional involvement.

3. The author goes beyond discussing the technical part of shooting and processing, enriching the discussion with a broader context of references to other photographers and concepts in photography. The book definitely is not the typical 'click this-and-that button' guide through Photoshop.

4. The chapters offer different perspectives on the subject, and you might learn to look at your own picture-taking with a more careful eye.

Why you might NOT want to buy the book (but perhaps skim through it anyway if your library offers this possibility):

5.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on July 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Black and White is not dead - it has its advantages over the world of color. "The Art of Black and White Photography: Techniques for Creating Superb Images in a Digital Workflow" is a complete and comprehensive guide to the craft of taking photos in the style of black and white. Chapters discuss when black and white should be used rather than color, how to avoid the cliches so often associated with black and white, applying new technology to improve an old art, and much more. For anyone enthusiastic about photography, "The Art of Black and White Photography: Techniques for Creating Superb Images in a Digital Workflow" is a must-have.

Diane C. Donovan
California Bookwatch
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Manuel Vazquez Muñoz on January 24, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Only 40 pages of 260 dedicated to digital darkroom... The rest of the book speaks about basics in photography, such as tools and fundamentals, photographic genres and rules of composition... this kind of information is always present in every book of photography...

so, it's not a good book for those who want to learn on black and white photography, but it's useful for those who are begginers in photography...
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C. Bullock on October 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
"The Art of Black and White Photography", by Torsten Andreas Hoffman, is the latest Rockynook book that I have read. So far, only one Rockynook title has disappointed me. "The Art of Black and White Photography" was definitely not a disappointment.

Black and white photography has interested me for some time, but I haven't really found the right subjects for it. When I thought I had a good candidate, it turned out to be much better in sepia than b&w. This book went a long way in helping me to understand what subjects woiuld do better in black and white. It also presents a wealth of knowledge about using modern tools (Photoshop CS2 was quoted) to refine images and get the most out of the exposure. The insistence to shoot in RAW was spot on. I learned this the hard way, but if you haven't gone to that exclusively yet, you need to.

While the title of the book implies exclusivity to B& photography, there is still quite a bit of useful information that crosses over to the color world also. Since I plan to keep shooting color and selectively convert to black and white in post processing, I was happy to see this. Every aspect of photography is addressed - landscapes and portraits, motion and still life, day and night exposures, you name it. Extensive sections cover Genres and Concepts as well as Composition Rules. Perhaps most useful to me (and well worth the price of the book) is the last section covering "The Digital Darkroom". I love getting useful Photoshop tips, and this book does not disappoint. Hopefully future editions will also include Lightroom tips.

"The Art of Black and White Photography" is one book that I could not put down once I started reading it, and I cannot wait to apply some of the concepts I learned.
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