- Paperback: 864 pages
- Publisher: Course Technology; 3 edition (March 5, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1285089316
- ISBN-13: 978-1285089317
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1.6 x 10.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (101 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #94,117 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes 3rd Edition
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"Christopher James displays in the third edition of this book all his knowledge on the so-called "alternative processes", and offers the reader historical data, formulas and visual examples, all explained with preciseness and clarity. The most interesting feature in this publication is that it opens perspectives for creative events, encourages the desire to explore techniques that are part of the history of photographic representation, and helps to articulate and to confer meaning on the desire of generating images in the present. In brief, his work allows us to visually explore existence and helps to understand the development of contemporary subjectivity."
What a wonderful book! Clear and concise, with all the secrets of the dark arts in one volume. Call it the King James."
"Christopher James' new edition has expanded right alongside the boom in interest in older techniques, as more and more contemporary artists reach backward to look forward. Covering processes from the first discoveries of the 1830's to the latest inventions and re-inventions, the book includes an astonishing breadth of work and a wide range of artists that show just how rich this field has become. If you need any proof that handmade photography is alive and well in the digital age, here it is, in spades."
"The 1st edition set the standard for alternative photo books. The 2nd, was a real knockout, totally unexpected, I thought the 2nd was the landmark edition, that Mr. James could sit back and enjoy life again. Then this happened, the 3rd edition. It's like meal in a Michelin 3-star restaurant, the courses keep coming getting better and better. It's a book not only for a photographer making photographs with these processes, but an essential book for anyone concerned with photography. It should be in a handy reach of every curator, photography dealer, art critic, and photo historian. And lastly, it's just a good read, sit back and enjoy."
“It’s a phrase that’s used too often but in this case it applies: every photographer -- everyone who cares about photography -- should have this book. Even if they never open it to check a formula. Not just because this is the bible for alternative processes or that it represents the fruit of a lifetime of study, teaching and practice by a master. This is also a document of great cultural significance. In an essential way, it shows us where we are – photographically, artistically -- in relation to our past and future. It casts an entirely new light on what it means to be “contemporary.” Lyle Rexer - Author, Educator, Critic, Historian Author of The Antiquarian Avant Garde, The Edge of Vision: The Rise of Abstraction in Photography October 2014
“The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes: 3rd Edition is extraordinary. Not only in its scale, depth of research and richness of information, but in the way it is written. It makes complex information about chemistry and process spellbinding and weaves social and photographic history into a captivating read that is simultaneously entertaining, accessible and richly informative. This is no mean feat. As somebody who does not take photographs it has given me even more of an appreciation for those who used (and continue to use) these methods and to fully understand the beautiful magic of traditional and contemporary alternative processes of photography.” Susan Bright – Author, Educator, Assistant Curator of Photography National Portrait Gallery, London Author of Art Photography Now, Auto Focus, and Home Truths
“What a wonderful book! Clear and concise, with all the secrets of the dark arts in one volume. Call it the King James." Keith Carter - photographic artist, scholar, author Author of 11 books inc. Fireflies, A Certain Alchemy, Ezekiel's Horse, and Keith Carter Photographs: Twenty-Five Years
“Without a doubt this is the ultimate book on alternative photography. The 3rd edition is like meal in a Michelin 3 star restaurant… the courses keep coming, getting better and better. This is a book not only for a photographer making photographs with these processes, but an essential book for anyone concerned with photography. It should be in a handy reach of every, curator, photography dealer, art critic, and photo historian. And lastly, it’s just a good read, sit back and enjoy.” Dick Sullivan – artist photographer, author, chemist, entrepreneur, and founder of Bostick & Sullivan
“Christopher James' new edition has expanded right alongside the boom in interest in older techniques, as more and more contemporary artists reach backward to look forward. Covering processes from the first discoveries of the 1830's to the latest inventions and re-inventions, the book includes an astonishing breadth of work and a wide range of artists that show just how rich this field has become. If you need any proof that handmade photography is alive and well in the digital age, here it is, in spades.” Dan Estabrook – photographic artist, scholar
“Throughout the twelve years spanned by three editions of this book, we have watched Christopher James's manual grow – at the forefront of its subject in authority and comprehensiveness - in historical content and anecdotal humour – to the point where this third edition should now enjoy the status of a magnum opus: a unique sourcebook for practising the arts of 'alternative' photography, which have recently also taken the silver-gelatin medium under their wing. Paradoxically, this renaissance of arcane analogue skills draws strength from the contemporary revolution in digital imaging technology, as James shows us, due to the ease of picture manipulation by computer and the making of large negatives by ink-jet printer. Whether your chosen photochemistry for analogue imaging is based on salts of silver, iron, or chromium, or on plant dyestuffs or on photopolymers, natural and man-made, you will find here all the pertinent instructions that you need, pleasantly enlivened by the author's charismatic style and entertaining digressions, and richly illustrated by the work of artist-practitioners, both historic and contemporary.” Mike Ware – author, photographic artist, chemist, scholar
“Christopher James displays in the third edition of this amazing book all of his knowledge on “alternative processes,” and offers the reader its cultural history, formulas and process, and visual examples from past and present, all explained with preciseness and clarity. The most interesting feature in this new edition is that it opens perspectives for creative events, encourages the desire to explore techniques that are part of the history of photographic representation, and articulates and confers meaning on the desire of generating images in the present. Christopher’s new edition allows us to visually explore existence and helps to understand the development of contemporary subjectivity.” Luis González Palma – photographic artist, author, scholar Author of 3 monographs including, Poems of Sorrow and El Silencio de la Mirada
“Christopher James is a master of alternative photographic processes, and a magician at illuminating the role of the photographic image in contemporary society. Readers will be sure to enjoy James’ insight, knowledge, and personable and authentic writing style.” Xtine Burrough – author, photographic artist, scholar Author of Digital Foundations and Foundations of Digital Art and Design
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
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Top Customer Reviews
You will see work and learn about processes that you never could have imagined existed: anthotype and cholorphyll processes (and how some enterprising artists preserve their work in "solid blocks of resin!!), Athenatype, Ziatype - EVERYTHING! And then - you will want to see how those processes could fit into your workflow and developing artistic vision!
Just get this book if you have any interest in photography at all.
I waited months to get my hands on this. It was worth the wait. Extremely well-written and entertaining too, there is no doubt this is now the gold standard for what is currently called "alternative photography", but will no doubt be called something else in the near future. After all, silver based photography is in fact already an "alternative" to digital. And digital photography is now providing some of the tools needed to practice alternative techniques in greater depth.
The great yellow father caused the brakes to be put on most of these "alternative" processes many years ago, and halted progress by amateurs via their repugnant secret keeping. I'm hoping that this book, and others like it, in addition to renewed interest in silver and a desire not to allow just one approach to take over again, will lead to renewed research and experimentation by photographers of all levels. If new and better processes don't result from the publication of this book, I will be very surprised.
Christopher has a fun and entertaining way about him that translates well to the written word. He has been a teacher and mentor to many successful artists through the years, and his style is casual and easy while being very thorough. In his books, you get a little history that leads you into a chapter with everything from basic table set-ups, to different chemicals to use and how they affect the process, to different papers and other substrates, to loads of other types of information that is simply too extensive to list here. There are also many, MANY beautiful images used as examples throughout the book that intrigue and delight.
This is one not to be missed!
Some reviewers have pointed out discrepancies, errors and gaps, and some who have worked with some of these processes may be at odds with some of the workflow and chemistry, but nonetheless it is a landmark book on the subjects presented. The text reflects James’ work as a teacher and artist, so there is reality to workflow, materials, and chemistry described.
The first edition encapsulated the selected alternative processes in some 324 pages. This edition has been greatly expanded to a whooping 601 pages! A book can’t cover every known process, but that would probably double the size of any possible third edition.
The greatly expanded “Safety Considerations” Appendix saves a lot of time chasing down MSD’s, and the addition and updates to processes presented, such as Ware New Cyanotype, Argyrotype, and new Chrysotype are a welcome addition. A nice touch is dividing the bibliography into Contemporary and Early & Historical.
What are missing are the Oil processes, such as Oil Print and Bromoil. Inkjet is covered briefly, and although James covers combination printing, such as Cyanotype with Gum Bichromate, they are scattered around the various processes. I would have liked to have seen a whole section on combo printing, but this is an evolving area and many are experimenting with every conceivable combination of processes, analogue, digital, hand applied and even camera-less methods, such as chemigrams.
This is my “go-to” book for alternative processes, and although not every process is included, it would take years to work through those that are covered. I especially enjoyed “The Cyanotype Mural Experience” as a teaching experience. “The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes” is highly recommended!