Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
"The first edition was a stunning achievement, and one I felt that was not likely to be superceded. Five short years later Christopher James has created a very new work and a new standard. The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes: 2nd Edition is, by far, the best alternative photographic process book ever!" - Richard Sullivan, Founder and Co-Owner, Bostick & Sullivan
"As bit strings take over our photographic being - if not our lives - we need, more than ever, this playful and inspiring manual. James cheerfully and effectively instructs us, whether we are novice or adept, in the alchemical arts of transmuting our expressive photographic images, both digital and analogue, into hand-crafted prints which will forever bear our individual marks." - Dr. Mike Ware, Author of over 50 publications on alternative process, history, process and preservation.
"If I could only have one photography book this would be it." - Tim Whelan Photographic Books
About the Author
Christopher James is an internationally known artist and photographer whose photographs, paintings, and alternative process printmaking have been exhibited in galleries and museums in this country and abroad. His work has been published and shown extensively, including exhibitions in The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The George Eastman House, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The first two editions of his book, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes have received international critical acclaim and are universally recognized by artists, curators, historians, and educators as the definitive texts in the genre of alternative process photography and photographically integrated media and culture. Christopher, after 13 years at Harvard University, is presently University Professor and Director of the MFA in Photography program at The College of Art and Design - Lesley University. He is also a painter, graphic designer, and a professional scuba diver. His web site is www.christopherjames-studio.com
Christopher James is an internationally known artist and photographer whose photographs, paintings, and alternative process printmaking have been exhibited in galleries and museums in this country and abroad. His work has been published and shown extensively, including exhibitions in the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, George Eastman House, Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Institute of Contemporary Art-Boston. Represented by the Lee Witkin Gallery in New York City for over two decades he has also shown at Pace-McGill (NYC), Contrasts Gallery (London), Michelle Chomette (Paris), Hartje Gallery (Berlin), and Photokina (Germany). He has published extensively including Aperture, Camera (Switzerland), American Photographer, and Interview magazine and in books such as The Antiquarian Avant Garde and Handcrafted: The Art and Practice of the Handmade Print (China). All three editions of his book, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes have received international critical acclaim and are universally recognized by artists, curators, historians, and educators as the definitive texts in the genre of alternative process photography and photographically integrated media and culture. A significantly expanded 900 page / 700 image, 3rd edition was published in 2015. Christopher, after 13 years at Harvard University, is presently University Professor and Director of the MFA in Photography program at Lesley University College of Art and Design. He received his Master's from the Rhode Island School of Design and is also a painter, graphic designer, and a professional scuba diver. His web site is www.christopherjames-studio.com
If you are having trouble sleeping don't pick this one up for a quick fix. Christopher's knowledge and wit will keep you engaged. I have a good many other books on alternative processes and this is my "Go to" volume. For those with an interest in historic processes, regardless of your skill level, this important text needs to be in your library. Neither the First nor Second editions have been anything other than first rate sources of information. My second edition is beginning to show the signs having a little too much chemistry spilled on it and I may have to get another as my breadth of knowledge and experience expands, thanks to Mr. James.
First a disclaimer. I helped on the cabon chapter and am the inventor of the Ziatype process, so I can hardly be called a neutral reviewer. However I do want to make a few comments.
Back in the late 70's another amazing book on this subject came out, Keepers of Light. It was an incredible achievement in its day but James's book exceeds it. Photo books come and go and only a tiny fraction ever get revised into a 2nd edition One would expect that after nearly 30 years the newer book having gone into a 2nd edition would be better, but this goes way beyond expectations. KOL was the spark that got me excited about process photography and to eventually start Bostick & Sullivan. I see this new book being a similar stimulus for young photographers to venture out into their own explorations of photography.
Christopher James should also be commended for not just producing a how-to book, but one that connects the modern day worker with the historical aspects of these processes. He covers the basic history of each process, which enlivens and adds to the fun of doing them. Did I say "fun?" Yeah, I did, and yes I know, we're supposed to be deadly serious about our art, but damn, this stuff is fun and you can't get away from that fact. That is also a theme that lies in the background throughout this book: art is fun.
Now this book is obviously targeted at the practicing photographer, but it deserves a much larger audience. Anyone interested in photography should read and have this book handy for a reference. Art and photo historians, collectors, curators, and folks that are just interested in photography will find their understanding of photography and photography's history enriched.
Perhaps now we will have fewer people making ink jet prints and calling them carbon prints. Ok, a personal peeve of mine. Sorry.
Was this review helpful to you?
I have 2 well worn copies of the first edition of The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes - I have kept the book by my side while printing and teaching as not only a resource but an inspiration.
The second edition of the book is a bit heftier due to all the fabulous new chapters that have been added and still goes with me to my classes and studio. My students call it "The Bible" they use it not only for technical advice but to look at the work of many different Alternative Process artists. Seeing the variety of approaches to the medium of photography represented in this book has opened my students' minds to the idea of playfulness in image making.
Christopher James offers a wealth of technical knowledge in his book but not one ounce of it is presented in an intimidating way, each chapter opens up new possibilities for approaching the photographic image and creating unique, expressive and playful creations.
The final chapter, "Light Marking", is new to the Second Edition and is a wonderful tool for photography instructors (and anyone else who wants to discover a new approach to an often highly technical medium). It gives many suggestions and clues on how to use the spirit of play as a tool for teaching/learning.
If my review has not convinced you to check out a copy of the book then just look at the cover image... A dog balancing on a ball, how can you resist!
Was this review helpful to you?
If you have ever had any interest in alternative printing or working in the non tradition of wet darkroom work this is a must have. To think of giving a brief historical background, a full chemical proprieties list, and than giving in depth instruction of how to make the physical print of more than 10 process's is simply amazing to pack into one book. While reading you can really appreciate Christopher's passion for the hand made craft. He is able to explain these often complicated chemical prints in a easy and non intimidated manner. In a fully digitized world it is so refreshing to see a man fully dedicate himself to something alternative than the norm.
What I loved about this book is how nothing is left to the imagination, often times while reading technical instructional books there is always that little something that is left out that can really make the world of difference while in the studio. With James's book nothing is left to the imagination, anything that could go wrong or may go wrong he warns you off, and gives you insight on how to avoid that. I was amazed to see that he was able to top himself with the first edition, i very much look forward to the third edition.
As i write this review i look to the book case fondly at my battle tested personal copy stained all over with various shades of browns and blacks from chemistry and smelling like lavender varnish.