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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Detailed, Beautifully Written & Illustrated
Disclaimer: I am casually acquainted with one of the authors (R.L.) via a photography forum, and one of my images is included in this book. However, I feel that neither of these issues preclude me from offering an honest critique.

I was at first struck by the size of this book: with 500+ pages, it is an encyclopedia! But the volume of this book is appropriate...
Published on October 7, 2010 by Keith A. Williams

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Lot of Information
There's the old story of the cowboy who got on his horse and "rode off in all directions." That's the story of WBM. In one telephone-directory-sized volume (remember telephone directories?), Lambrecht attempts to cover photography from Fox Talbot to the present digital age. This is perhaps best-described as a reference textbook, particularly so given the...
Published 7 months ago by Alfred Lockwood


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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Detailed, Beautifully Written & Illustrated, October 7, 2010
This review is from: Way Beyond Monochrome 2e: Advanced Techniques for Traditional Black & White Photography including digital negatives and hybrid printing (Hardcover)
Disclaimer: I am casually acquainted with one of the authors (R.L.) via a photography forum, and one of my images is included in this book. However, I feel that neither of these issues preclude me from offering an honest critique.

I was at first struck by the size of this book: with 500+ pages, it is an encyclopedia! But the volume of this book is appropriate for its broad, technical scope. The book addresses the physiological aspects of seeing, and the refinement of print tonality... and everything in between. Consistent with the modern context, the reader will also find a thorough treatment of all the digital, hybrid, and traditional tools. With a strong emphasis on clarifying techniques, this book is *very* thoroughly illustrated. Hardly a page is without an example, an illustration or a graph. In addition, numerous tables and templates are found in an appendix. It's literally impossible for me to locate a technical topic that wasn't appropriately described. Yes, MTF, dry down, transmittance etc. are all given full schrift!

The risk that the authors take with this book is to overwhelm the reader with the technical scope, with insufficient treatment of the creative aspects that must always drive the successful craft. Indeed the book contains ~90% technical content. There is a small section on visualization, and a larger "On Assignment" section with narrated examples, but the reader will not find much discussion of fundamental issues such as: what distinguishes black and white photography as an art form; why black and white is effective in some cases for which color photography is not; and the special role of certain abstract graphical elements in the black and white craft.

For my own taste, there could and probably should be more weight given to these qualitative aspects, and for that reason my rating of this book is not perfect. That said, I realize that most readers expect and appreciate the technical guidance... and abstract statements about the unique effectiveness of black and white photography are probably best made with photographs rather than words!

Overall, this book is a real achievement- an authoritative reference that will be widely cited for many years to come. I recommend it very highly, and note that the low price is a very pleasant surprise, given the volume of very useful information. I am certain that this book will be at least as successful as the first edition, which is also very highly regarded.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A comprehensive masterwork on traditional photography, October 7, 2010
This review is from: Way Beyond Monochrome 2e: Advanced Techniques for Traditional Black & White Photography including digital negatives and hybrid printing (Hardcover)
"Way Beyond Monochrome" second edition could be described as a comprehensive masterwork on traditional photography. Authors Ralph Lambrecht and Chris Woodhouse take the photographer on a journey from the basics of visualisation and print control, through presentation and display of prints, into a thorough treatment of the science of photography. Detailed but clearly-written text is accompanied by a wealth of explanatory figures and photographs. Although the focus of the book is mainly on traditional film photography, digital photography is also covered with an emphasis on digital negative technology. This book is highly recommended to photographers of all levels as it combines in one place all the important elements of the craft of photography.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Way Beyond Monochrome - Way Beyond the Usual, October 9, 2010
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This review is from: Way Beyond Monochrome 2e: Advanced Techniques for Traditional Black & White Photography including digital negatives and hybrid printing (Hardcover)
This is a review for the 2nd edition of this book.

This book just arrived today, and I have been joyously flipping through its pages all afternoon! I'm an amateur photographer, having been bitten by the bug in college, and have a hobby darkroom set up in my house. I have never taken it too seriously, it's enough for me to simply enjoy the peace and solitude of the darkroom and to geek-out on all of the technical aspects of traditional black and white printing.

Of course I'd like to be more confident in the darkroom, and so much of my good work feels like it came about more by accident than by actually knowing what I was doing. I'd like to think that this book is going to help me in that.

This book is not recommended as a beginner's text. It assumes you know your way around the darkroom and know a bit about shooting and processing film. There are plenty of books to start you on the basics (Ansel Adams' book series, also Henry Horenstein's book "Black & White Photography, A Basic Manual"), but this book really takes it a step further by guiding you through the more advanced, nuanced areas of expert shooting and printing. Some of the topics covered in the book include creating unsharp masks, digital negatives, paper and print contrast, split-grade printing, paper flashing, print bleaching, print retouching, and all kinds of other tips and tricks and projects. I can't believe how well laid out this book is, and many of the techniques I was completely unaware of.

The actual production quality of the nook is amazing, too. There are hundreds of illustrations, examples, diagrams and graphs to help clarify the topics. The photographic examples are extremely well done, and the print quality is very high. This is a book people will ask to borrow from your library, and I guarantee you'll be evaluating your friendship before you lend it out to anyone! Seriously though, this is a book that is going to last. It's built like one of those bulletproof college textbooks, but it is beautifully and thoughtfully laid out.

To close, I'd like to suggest that anyone who is perhaps like me, very familiar to film photography and darkroom printing, but want to elevate their understanding of the art, please do not hesitate to buy this book. It is one of the most elegant, concise, and thorough texts on the art of photography, and it should not be missed!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great text book for mid and advanced photographers, March 12, 2011
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This review is from: Way Beyond Monochrome 2e: Advanced Techniques for Traditional Black & White Photography including digital negatives and hybrid printing (Hardcover)
This is clearly not a book written for beginners. There are plenty of books for beginners with how-to and step-by-step instructions. However; once one graduates from such books, one is hard pressed to find anything that takes him/her further. Sporadic information are available in books and internet but nothing concise that presents these information in relevant manner. This book does just that.

Please note, this books is all about film photography. Digital photography is mentioned but only in relation to analog photography. If you are not interested in film, this is not a book for you!

Way beyond monochrome is written in a format of college textbooks for advanced scientific/engineering fields. It starts out slowly but soon, pages are filled with advanced topics and discussions, charts, graphs, and formulas. One can comprehend the topic but good understanding in early college level mathematics help immensely. Some chapters are independent and some flows into more advanced methods/topics in following chapters - very much like college textbooks.

This book is unusual in a way that while it is a book for art, photographic art, but the approach is very scientific. When many photography books might say something is a "bit darker", in this book, it is said 1/3EV darker, for example. Elsewhere, author shows what 1/3 EV difference looks like in prints, explains 1/3EV is understood to be a "significant change" and how much change in contrast and exposure is needed to achieve this change. In fact, there are charts and formulas to explain how this all comes together. For someone (like me) who struggled to achieve consistent change in various timing and contrast scenario, understanding on how to do this precisely - every time - without endless trials and errors - is beyond wonderful.

If I were to criticize this book, I think, a bit less (not much less, please) scientific approach may be appropriate - especially considering this is a book about photographic art. It may broaden the audience a bit that those who approach photography from right side of his/her brain may appreciate the content more. I am leaving 5 stars as author's approach works for me very well.

I'd recommend this book to anyone who spent a year or more in darkroom and want to advance his/her skills.

Full disclosure: I am casually acquainted with the author via an online community of analog photographers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I can't believe it's this thorough (and this excellent!), January 20, 2011
This review is from: Way Beyond Monochrome 2e: Advanced Techniques for Traditional Black & White Photography including digital negatives and hybrid printing (Hardcover)
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I am not part of the book's target audience: photographers that work in B&W, specifically those working with the older film-based techniques. While I had a day or two playing in a darkroom in my early teen years, I'm now a semi-professional photographer using digital technology: digital capture, digital processing, and largely digital (online) display, rather than printing my photos. But I've always been curious about shooting B&W film and darkroom printing, and I can't imagine a better book on the subject than this one. It's likely the heaviest book on my photography shelf: hardback, and over 500 very-significant pages. And it's FILLED with info... much of which applies to me now, but much of which does not. It's definitely targeted at those printing from negatives, and much of the book's content is directed to this end: the properties of various films, chemicals and techniques used in the development process, etc... but plenty also applies to digital photographers: discussions of exposure, lighting, properties of cameras and lenses, the zone system, matting and framing prints, etc. There is also information specifically for digital photographers, on how to optimize prints, including several ways to get from digital capture to silver-gelatin prints.

The book is filled with not only a ton of data-filled charts, tables, and figures (the authors know their stuff!), but also plenty of gorgeous photos, illustrating techniques and methods described (note: there is occasional nudity; this is a fine art photography book).

My recommendation: if you shoot B&W film, and/or develop your own prints, you need this book. It's amazing. If you're a digital photographer who does mostly color work, and are glad to be rid of the pains of darkroom processing, this book likely isn't for you. It focuses on traditional analog techniques, and I can't imagine a better book on the subject. This one has it all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Lot of Information, January 8, 2014
By 
Alfred Lockwood (Angels Camp, CA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Way Beyond Monochrome 2e: Advanced Techniques for Traditional Black & White Photography including digital negatives and hybrid printing (Hardcover)
There's the old story of the cowboy who got on his horse and "rode off in all directions." That's the story of WBM. In one telephone-directory-sized volume (remember telephone directories?), Lambrecht attempts to cover photography from Fox Talbot to the present digital age. This is perhaps best-described as a reference textbook, particularly so given the questions at the end of each chapter. There are bits on the mundane (assembling picture frames), the challenging (curves), and everything in-between. It's a difficult book to rate: the beginner would probably give it five stars. I, being well-experienced, rate the book lower: somewhere between 3 and 4 stars. All-in-all, if you're looking for a one-book photo library, this is for you. If you want more specifics in any particular area, shop around. I'll probably put my copy of WBM up for sale.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent for traditional printing, October 5, 2011
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This review is from: Way Beyond Monochrome 2e: Advanced Techniques for Traditional Black & White Photography including digital negatives and hybrid printing (Hardcover)
I originally bought this book as I thought it would provide me with a better understanding of scanning and inkjet printing workflow. The book does NOT answer any of these questions. It is, however, an excellent book about traditional darkroom procedures. As long as you are aware of this, i can highly recommend this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Impressive Broad Reference for Analog B&W Photography. Not Complete on Any One Topic., January 19, 2011
This review is from: Way Beyond Monochrome 2e: Advanced Techniques for Traditional Black & White Photography including digital negatives and hybrid printing (Hardcover)
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"Way Beyond Monochrome" is a broad reference on primarily film-based black-and-white photography for advanced amateur and semi-professional photographers. Though there is more information on digital imaging than in the first edition, it is limited to digital capture, digital sensitometry, and digital negatives for silver-gelatin printing. This is a large, heavy volume, 10 inches square and 1.5 inches deep. It touches on most techniques in black-and-white photography and printing, even some obscure and highly specialized, in more than 80 chapters, is highly technical at times, with an emphasis on the science behind the process, but it does not try to be comprehensive or thorough on any subject.

The authors outline the basics, the science behind them, and introduce the reader to some advanced printing techniques, all with beautiful photographic examples. It's a good reference for introducing photographers to the craft or for refreshing the memory of those who have done it before. But, if you're new to darkroom printing or to any of its many creative options, you'll probably want a book dedicated to that particular topic as well, for more step-by-step instruction. "Way Beyond Monochrome" has 3 parts: The Basics, The Science, and Odds and Ends, subdivided into 10 sections, plus an Appendix and an Index. There are review questions at the end of each section for those who want to make sure they've mastered the concepts.

Part 1, The Basics, begins with an explanation of the human visual system, how dark room skill transforms an image, and the principles behind "the synergy of image, negative, and print quality" before moving on to the hands-on stuff: timing print exposure, paper and print contrast, archival processing, toning, mounting and matting, print spotting, framing. And Brooks Jensen weighs in on the question of whether or not to limit the edition. Part 2, The Science, gives the reader an overview of the Zone System, and introduction to sensitometry, the science of sharpness, depth of field, and focus, negative exposure and processing, contrast control, and using masks, split-grade printing, and print flashing. There are also chapters on pinhole photography, making digital negatives for contact printing, and creating a silver-gelatin print from an inkjet print.

A section called "On Assignment" that is some 50 pages long contains a lot of short chapters that address a particular technique using a particular example. There are some interesting creative techniques showcased, and the focus on a particular image is helpful. Part 3, Odds and Ends, talks about photographic equipment and building a darkroom, including some useful "Tools, Tips and Tricks". The Appendix includes an introduction to darkroom chemistry for non-chemists, and tables and templates for topics discussed in the book. This is an impressive broad reference work for analog black-and-white photography and silver-gelatin printing. I'm glad I have it. But, if I have a lasting interest in a particular technique, I will also consult a dedicated reference book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gorgeous, December 16, 2010
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This review is from: Way Beyond Monochrome 2e: Advanced Techniques for Traditional Black & White Photography including digital negatives and hybrid printing (Hardcover)
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Mammoth of a book, this is almost beyond coffee table size but it's a treasure trove for people who are passionate about photography. Definitively not for beginners, this dives right in and deals with developing black and white film with various methods. It's also full of gorgeous photographs, many of them racy nudes. I will be lending this to my boyfriend as he's the photographer in the family to see if he can use this to expand his knowledge on the subject.

This is also perfect for people who are good with chemistry and developing their own film. A+
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best book on photography techniques, November 18, 2010
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This review is from: Way Beyond Monochrome 2e: Advanced Techniques for Traditional Black & White Photography including digital negatives and hybrid printing (Hardcover)
This is absolutely one of the most complete and interesting book about Photography technique now in the wide marked and scenario of Photography books. It is full of very useful and great tips and suggestions that could fit perfectly to professional and advanced amateur photographers. It covers both traditional (negatives) and digital photography and this is good because now we can see how traditional photography is living a new life and it has a great appeal on young photographers as well as ''aged'' ones. Also for this reason I do believe this is a great book, also very elegant and extremely well done from the layout point of view.
I am an amateur photographer, planning a couple of exhibitions next year and this book is helping me a lot in the not easy process of exhibition setting up etc. So, in a few words and hope this review will help other readers in their decisions, a very very good book that I strontly recommend.
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