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Quick Review: The Magic of Black and White eBook

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In today's Quick Tip, we'll be doing something slightly different and offering a brief outline of a photography eBook released by one of our regular contributors: Andrew Gibson. The Magic of Black & White, Part One – Vision. This $5 eBook takes a look at the importance and reasoning behind black and white imagery, and how it can help your photography.

Book Contents

If I were teaching high school photography I’d do it like I was taught - in black and white.

Spread over 60 pages, this eBook starts by looking at "Why Black and White?", presenting a few arguments for using this format over colour from time-to-time. It then goes on to discuss the following topics:

  • Learning to See in Monochrome
  • The Elements of Black and White Photography
  • Lighting in Black and White
  • Choosing an Effective Subject

The most extensive of these sections is "The Elements", which takes a high level look at the different techniques and theories that can help to produce a successful black and white image.

Some of the information is fairly basic, but the points raised are key areas to think about if you want to take images with impact; tonal contrast, texture, line, highlights, complexity/simplicity etc.

If you're looking for a comprehensive guide to the technical aspects of shooting in black and white, this isn't it. For understanding the theory behind the medium and how it changes the impact of an image, this book is perfect.

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Photography and Images

As with any photography book, it's not all about the words. The photographs used throughout the book help to show useful examples of the concepts discussed - whether that's different black and white subjects, lighting techniques, or composition tips.

Andrew certainly has a certain style of photography, and we've published a number of his images on Phototuts+. If you're a regular reader of our site, the photography in the book will feel familiar.

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I found The Magic of Black & White, Part One – Vision to be a very enjoyable read, and it's a good deal at only $5. If you'd already consider yourself a black and white expert, it may not be for you. If, however, you are wanting to learn more about the medium and understand it's unique complexities, this is a solid starting point.

This book is the first in what will be a two part series, with the second planning to examine the means of creating a black and white image in the digital darkroom.

If you do choose to buy the book, be sure to let us know what you think in the comments!

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