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The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes [Paperback]

Christopher James
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)

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Book Description

February 12, 2008 1418073725 978-1418073725 2
Photographic artists and students of alternative process photography will welcome this new edition of Christopher James' The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes. This significantly expanded edition is a full-color, lavishly illustrated, comprehensive resource that explores every aspect of alternative process image making. With his highly conversational writing style, James explores the techniques, processes, idiosyncrasies, history, and cultural connections that are such a significant part of the genre. Best of all, James makes it extremely accessible, providing clear instructions and practical workflow advice. The book delves into a vast menu of alternative and traditional options, among them: calotype, salted paper, cyanotype, argyrotype, chrysotype, POP, kallitype, ambrotype/wet collodion, Van Dyke, platinum/palladium, Ziatype, gelatin dry plate emulsions, carbon, gum bichromate, albumen, hand-applied emulsions, paper, alternative imaging systems, and digital negative production for alternative process image making. This book has become the unanimous standard reference text for alternative process photography, one that students love to read and work from. Not only does this definitive work make the most complex ideas easy to understand, it is conversational, comfortable, inspirational, and fun to read- a tremendous resource and a treasure trove of alternative process images. "The first edition was a stunning achievement, and one I felt that was not likely to be superceded.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 "If I could only have one photography book this would be it." -Timothy Whelan, Photographic Books

Frequently Bought Together

The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes + Primitive Photography: A Guide to Making Cameras, Lenses, and Calotypes + Jill Enfield's Guide to Photographic Alternative Processes: Popular Historical and Contemporary Techniques
Price for all three: $162.08

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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

The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University Bio: Christopher James is an internationally known artist and photographer whose paintings and alternative process images have been exhibited in galleries and museums nationally 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. After 13 years at Harvard University, he is now university professor and director of the MFA in photography program at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. He is also a painter, graphic designer, and a professional scuba diver. He received his BFA from Massachusetts College of Art and his MAT from Rhode Island School of Design. His web site is www.christopherjames-studio.com.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 660 pages
  • Publisher: Cengage Learning; 2 edition (February 12, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1418073725
  • ISBN-13: 978-1418073725
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 8.4 x 10.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,147 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher James is an internationally recognized artist and photographer whose paintings and photographs have been exhibited in galleries and museums in this country and abroad. His work has been published and exhibited extensively, including shows in The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The George Eastman House, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

The first edition of his book, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes (Delmar Thomson, NY, 2001) received unprecedented critical acclaim and was the winner of The Golden Light Technical Book of the Year award. The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes: Second Edition (Delmar Cengage, NY, 2008) was released in February 2008 and is widely recognized as the definitive text in the genre.

Christopher earned his degrees at The Massachusetts College of Art and The Rhode Island School of Design. He was a Professor at Harvard University from 1978 through 1991 and is currently Professor and Chair of Photography at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University. He is also a working graphic designer and a professional scuba diver.

Christopher's paintings and photographic work, his teaching and writing, and information about upcoming workshops and lectures, can be seen on his web site: www.christopherjames-studio.com

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
56 of 64 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars nice brochure September 7, 2009
By cfg
Format:Paperback
This is a great glossy overview of processes if you're curious about which to pursue, but not so much use as for practical instruction. James has an approach and writing style in which contradiction and lack of coherent detail(and perhaps even proofing errors) play no small role. Eccentric and charming at first (in a self-edited sort of way) it can be quite maddening if you make purchases or try out processes based on his recommendations and instructions. I'd seriously recommend double checking with other sources once you decide on a process to try out. Of course that's good advice for any source of info, but here it's critical. It's maddening that he'll list creme brulee recipes while be curiously tightlipped about crucial process details. I'm an experienced and largely self-taught printer- carbon transfer, albumen, tri-color gum and kallitype, so I'm not a novice that needs a lot of hand-holding.

A notable irritation is the gum chapter. A typical recipe- 'An 1 1/4 inchworm of watercolor per 12 full eyedroppers of gum and 12 full eyedroppers of dichromate'..? I wouldn't recommend measuring pigment unless you measure in all dimensions -aka volume- not just length. Much more accurate to weigh. And what size eyedroppers? When he does use traditional weights and measures they are inconsistent: he mentions Stephen Livick using 12g of pigment for every 12ml of dichromate when using Sennelier paints, double the concentration of other brands. In a separate section he then says Livick uses 2.5-4g g of Lindel paint in 12ml of dichromate. Forgetting for an instant that 12g of watercolor is an absolutely fantastic quantity of paint (I pigment 4 36x50cm 2mm thick carbon tissues with less- and that's 2 liters worth of solution) I still wouldn't call 12 the double of 2.5 or even 4.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't leave home without it June 9, 2011
Format:Paperback
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential key to any darkroom printers library. August 29, 2011
By Matthew
Format:Paperback
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Danny
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wonderful book! I have never had much success learning from books and had my doubts when I purchased this one. In buying the book my goal was to learn platinum, cyanotype, salt, and albumen printing. I succeeded in all four methods and many more. Christopher James writing is not only informative but entertaining, which is a rare combination. I am a professional photographer who was well versed in digital and darkroom printing but I wanted to expand my photographic toolbox and this book helped me achieve that. An outstanding resource!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Book on Alternative Processes June 10, 2011
By BjornR
Format:Paperback
I started to explore the alternative (historic) photographic printing techniques approx. a year ago, and have learned lots of stuff by searching the net for information. I have also bought several books on the theme, but only this book had the information level I was searching. It is a thick book, and very structured. Great read too. So far I have only explored a few of the techniques described in the book, but it is a joy to read about all the other techniques. The author brings the techniques into perspective by starting each chapter with a historic overview. In this way, I have got a much better understanding of why and how the different techniques evolved. But most important: I get a much better understanding of how to make beautiful images printed in alternative techniques. Highly recommended.
I am running a blog on my personal experience with these techniques, and had to make a short review of the book on [...] Off course I gave it top score, which I also do here.

Bjorn
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Leroy Cunningham enjoying the book.
It has giving me all the insight that I needed for printing my pictures,thanks a lot for being there when I was desperate.
Published 3 months ago by Leroy Cunningham
5.0 out of 5 stars Twice as good as the first edition!
There is no doubt that Christopher James is an exceptional practitioner and teacher in alternative and historical photographic processes. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Gene Bagdonas
5.0 out of 5 stars great!
This book is great! It is simple and very informative. The best book i have in alternative photographic processes! 100 satisfaction!
Published 6 months ago by Maria Paz Crotto
3.0 out of 5 stars Boring, but honest
This author explains to you from ch.1 that his style in writing is quite peculiar.

I agree with him. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Gabriel T.
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic book!
Very comprehensive book on alternative process with lots of information. It is my goto book when I need info. I think it is worth every penny.
Published 11 months ago by Barkid
5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Reference Material for the Alternative Processes
I learned the Gum Bichromate printing process, using this book that I borrowed as my main source of reference. Read more
Published 15 months ago by tabber
5.0 out of 5 stars Good!
This book is very helpful in all of its information on alternative processes. I use it for a class at college. Shipped very slow though.
Published 16 months ago by Hannah Love
5.0 out of 5 stars Review of Alt. Photo.Processes.
It is the Best Book I ever read on Alternative Photographic Processes. Full of detailed information on many different Alt. methods. Greatly recomended.
Published 21 months ago by Chris.O.
5.0 out of 5 stars a bible for alternative processing
I have been searching for a long time to find a book like this. It is the only book I have found so far which covers such a wide range of different processes for photography. Read more
Published on January 27, 2012 by gabain
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, can't put it down
If you are interested in alternative photo printing techniques this book is a must. Most of the major techniques are covered in individual chapters with some history and other... Read more
Published on January 1, 2012 by D. Hanson
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