Yhis is the best book that I have yet read. Thanks to the author.
This is my first book by this author so I am interested in what he says. He begins, of course, by discussing camera choice and the use of filters.Read more
German photographer Torsten Andreas Hoffman writes, “Photography is not preeminently about technique, but rather is about images with content that express the photographer’s consciousness while being created in an interesting way.
“The Art of Black and White Photography is divided into four sections. The first covers some technical issues such as file types (RAW, TIFF, JPEG), the polarizing filter, and the gradient filter. The second is an overview of genres.
The core of the book is Section Three, Rules of Composition. Section Four wraps up with some Photoshop techniques. Hoffman’s own photos – both analog and digital – demonstrate the concepts presented in the text.
The author is clearly knowledgeable about photography, but not always effective at imparting that knowledge. For example, he frequently refers to “image tension” without ever explaining what he means by this.
In The Art of Black and White Photography a great variety of thematic photos are analyzedto show how mood and emotion are evoked by certain fundamental elements,while…Read more
4.0 out of 5 starsVery knowledgeable – technique and artist principles
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A refreshing, unique approach to improving your photography. Understand weaknesses and remedies. Challenges you to develop using practical exercises.
Always good to read another view point on creating photographic images. Well printed book that motivates any photographer to get back to shooting for fun, not just money.
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5.0 out of 5 starsA Hearty Welcome to Another Top German Photographer/Author
3.0 out of 5 starsWell written. Insights on “Meaning” in photography. But not as good in showing the reader “how” to accomplish his aim.
5.0 out of 5 stars… Hoffmann through his book “Photography as Meditation” and thoroughly enjoyed his insights into developing a vision for my ph
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I HAVE JUST FINISHED READING TORSTEN HOFFMANN’S SECOND EDITION AND MUST ADMIT THAT IF YOU HAD ALREADY READ THE FIRST EDITION THERE IS PROBABLY NOT A LOT MORE NEW INFORMATION.Read more
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Black and white imaging is alive and well in spite that every digital device, be it a digital camera, a tablet or a phone, produce stunning color images there is still room for…Read more
Over the last few years, most books on photography emphasized explaining the new breed of cameras and how to master the digital imaging workflow. In The Art of Black and White Photography Torsten Andreas Hoffmann takes a different approach, as he focuses on image composition and image capture, with an emphasis on the creative aspects of black and white photography, rather than on the digital workflow.
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This is a welcome volume for B&W photogs and a useful read for color photographers from another fine German photographer/author. This is Hoffmann’s first instructional book to be published in English, although he has had numerous articles on image design/composition published in the magazine “Leica Fotographie International”, or LFI, which, by the way, is not published by Leica-Camera GMBH.
Hoffmann emphasizes the possibilities in tonal manipulation in digital and analogue photographing. The point of his presentation is always to show how manipulating the tones and, therefore, contrast, contributes to the design of the image with respect to the photographer’s intentions.
He spends a significant amount of space on showing how to elicit mood in various kinds of photographs (content).His chapters start with, what I find to be, rather interesting summaries of the chapter topic’s history, significant practitioners, and current directions.
Then he examines several of his own images in detail. His commentary on an image concentrates on the visual structure and on the darkroom and/or digital manipulations necessary to realize his intentions.
The only other book that comes to mind for nearly such excellence in pictorial descriptions or captions is the first edition of Bill Smith’s “Designing a Photograph,” which sets the standard for applying the Gestalt visual psychological approach to analyzing image structure.
Rather differently from the other two top volumes on image structure currently in print, Michael Freeman’s “The Photographer’s Eye,” and Harald Mante’s “The Photograph,” Hoffmann spends significant time looking at the various genres of photographic subject matter and then covers composing/design from the point of view of visual tensions and abstract structure.
There is overlap with both of the other volumes, but also depth and emphasis that is his own. Color is not part of the subject in this book, but color photographers will benefit from Hoffmann’s insights into tonality, contrast, and structure in images.
This book, IMHO, sort of completes the circle of really good books on photographic composition/design at the intermediate level. With this book, the years 2007 and 2008 have been the best in a few decades for the publication of outstanding books on design/composition, and it is interesting to this reviewer that the three best are by an English and two German photographer/authors .
It just does not seem that US practioners are taught the nuts and bolts of visual design to any degree of depth and ability to articulate their thoughts about image structure. The ability of even world class US photographers to discuss the reasons that their images work in structural terms is relatively rare.
I like this book enough to make a triumvirate of this one, Freeman’s book, and Mante’s book for readers interested in sophisticated, analytical approaches to visual design and image structure. The only thing I would wish for is that more of his photos be accompanied by those delightful little thumbnails with his structural line diagrams.
The more of these there are in a book, the more an interested reader packs away in one’s mental image databank for later resurrection and use.Some asides before I finish. Hoffmann gets more visual mileage from aircraft vapor trails than anyone else I know of.
Most of us regard these as intrusions into the tranquility of our landscape images. But, in the venerable tradition of divorcing content from an image’s abstract structure, and the role of structure being to support the content, Hoffmann integrates these features into his images so forcefully that to remove them would ruin the image.
Bravo; Mante would be proud.Too, the basic structural architecure of many of his images rests upon the grid formed from the golden ratio approximations of breaking the height and width into 5/8th and 3/8th divisions.
One advantage of this choice versus the preference of US photographers for the Thirds Rule is that the Thirds method breaks the space into nine identical rectangles – a recipe well on the way to boring space management.
Yet, as shows Charles Bouleau in his seminal book, “The Painter’s Secret Geometry,” even relatively simple visual architectures in the hands of someone with excellent training and inspired talent yield captivating, dynamic images, while the plodders among us achieve less subtle and interesting results.
I hope it will not be so long before Hoffmann gives us a volume on design in color photography.19 November 2008. I just read this book again. It is more satisfying, informative, and a pleasure to read than I realized the first time through.
The second section covers thirteen genres or concepts, each one starting with a delightful essay that I began to look forward to in succeeding chapters. Beginning with a chapter on dealing with cliches and ending with a chapter on eliciting mystical elements from a subject and a chapter on panoramics, he deals with the major philosophical aspects relating to photography in each genre, how such issues have changed through the history of photography, sometimes the relationships to other visual arts, and some reference to major past and current practitioners.
The third section presents fourteen aspects of composing images, from “what is composition” to movement in the image. The prefatory remarks are much more brief than in the genres/concepts section, but are insightful.
His approach to composing emphasizes the principles of design and techniques of visualization and thinking to achieve the principles, and less concentration on the elements that one gets from Mante and Freeman.
In all four sections of the book, when he discusses a photograph, he does it better, more thoroughly from a structural point of view, and at a higher level than most any other writing I have seen.I now feel that this book ranks right up there with Freeman and Mante as coequal in quality, depth, and level of presentation.
These are the three strongest books on the composition/design subject in years. If you are interested in analytical, thinking, focussed approaches to making, understanding, and appreciating images, I cannot recommend too strongly owning and reading several times the three books by Freeman, Mante, and Hoffmann.
Hardcover: 272 pages Publisher: Rocky Nook; 1 edition (May 30, 2008) Language: English ISBN-10: 193395227X ISBN-13: 978-1933952277 Product Dimensions: 8 x 0.8 x 10 inches Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds Average Customer Review: 3.
7 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,804,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #73 in Books > Arts & Photography > Photography & Video > Black & White #145 in Books > Arts & Photography > Photography & Video > Equipment, Techniques & Reference > Darkroom & Processing #2008 in Books > Arts & Photography > Photography & Video > Equipment, Techniques & Reference > Reference
2.0 out of 5 starsThis book won’t teach you much about shooting black and white
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As a fan of black and white photography, I’ve read a couple of books that explain the “how” of this segment of shooting pictures. This one is terribly disappointing. It opens by telling readers to not take photos that are clichÃ©s, and as you go through and look at the photos in the book, by the author, you see many clichÃ©s.
There are sections talking about shooting portraits, street photography, landscapes, etc, but all they do is show his photos and explain how he shot them; there is no broader explanation of shooting black and white, as opposed to color.
The section on composition looks like it’s cribbed from another book, with specious things like the golden ratio, and is really quite useless; at least it’s not specific to black and white photos.The text is bland and boring – which could be in part because of the translation – and after reading about a quarter of the book, I skimmed the rest, looking at the photos, and reading some of the descriptions.
This is overall pretty useless for those who want to know more about shooting black and white pictures.
After introducing the ground rules of composition, the author illustrates their applications with various photographic genres such as architecture, street photography, portraiture, and surreal photography with his own stunning black and white images. In the second part of the book, Hofmann illustrates the elements of a photographic language , which distinguishes creative photography from random shooting. The final part of the book is dedicated to post-processing techniques, mostly in Photoshop (CS3), emphasizing the functions that are necessary for creating outstanding black and white images.
I understand why some people are upset with the book. “Digital Workflow” should not have been in the title since the author does not go deep into the post-processing. However, the book itself is very well organized, has some valuable tips for beginners and most importantly it’s an easy and pleasent read.
Very good. Some challenges but a great read. If you are thinking about black and white photography this the book.
Expert guidance for creating impressive digital black and white photos. Detailed instructions with easy to understand step by step examples.
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I have just started reading this book and I am finding it to be superb. It is technically up to date but reaches back to the film world where black and white photos were the only game available. He not only covers techniques but also artistic insights, compositions, and creating worthwhile photographs while avoiding cliched photos.
Exactly what I was looking for, a book for photographers with practical techniques and valuable insights. Highly recommended.
The Art of Black and White Photography: Techniques for Creating Superb Images in a Digital Workflow 1st Edition
The Art of Photography: A Personal Approach to Artistic Expression
Well written. Insights on “Meaning” in photography, going beyond snapping shots, beyond the technical, beyond classification [“There’s a shot of the Grand Canyon”] to sensing and feeling and expressing oneself, approaching in some cases a meditative state.
All this is good, though I got a lot more from Bruce Barnbaum’s earlier work “The Art of Photography.”
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5.0 out of 5 starsThis was a gift for my husband. He loves …
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This was a gift for my husband. He loves it and keeps returning to it, finding more each time. He is an accomplished photographer himself.
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I originally became acquainted with Hoffmann through his book “Photography as Meditation” and thoroughly enjoyed his insights into developing a vision for my photography.Read more
Very disappointed in the book. It is only helpful if you are using PS3. Since PS6 was the first version of Photoshop I used and I currently use CC, it is virtually useless.I purchased it because of a recommendation from Rocky Nook.
I won’t make that mistake again
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4.0 out of 5 starsVery good. Some challenges but a great read
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