Author : Amadou Diallo
Description:This book has great material if you're interested in black & white, and it has some good things to offer even for people who want to work in color. The book starts off on the wrong foot, but then it becomes very useful beginning in Chapter 3. It's clearly written, comprehensive and includes useful detail. Chapter 1 is a portfolio of the author's work. Chapter 2 is about his multi-computer setup and all the hard drives he has in RAID arrays, etc. Swell, but tell us what the practical needs are for amateurs and beginning pro's, please. After looking at his portfolio and reading his gloat you're wondering whether this book is just an ego trip for Mr. Diallo. But in Chapter 3 he reviews color management and gets into the details about device profiles. If you're reading about digital B&W you've probably already read about color management, but this book explains it better than anything else I've read. Chapter 4 gets into examples of conversions from digital color to B&W. There's good info on scanning and scanning software, which is an unexpected bonus if you have a collection of negatives from your pre-digital life. Chapter 5 covers the use of Photoshop for B&W. It summarizes the main tools photographers should learn and incluuds some examples of how to use them, and that chapter is as useful for color as it is for B&W. Chapter 6 goes into the details on B&W printing, including the use for third part ink sets for Epson printers and the use of raster imaging processors (RIPs). Again, the text is clearly written even as it goes into detail. Chapter 7 covers digital workflow and includes a couple of useful end-to-end examples. There's an excellent discussion of why and how to use sharpening. Chapters 8 and 9 will be of interest to people interesting in selling their work. Chapter 8 on limited editions could be condensed to about 5 pages by removing redundant text, but it does contain clear and presumably useful advice. Chapter 9 on building a portfolio is detailed and includes a short section on building a web site for displaying one's portfolio. The advice is certainly useful for someone hoping to sell his or her work as fine art. There's a good reference guide at the back with links to various sources of ink, paper, software, etc. There are two flaws that should be corrected in a future update/new edition: The most serious flaw is that the illustrations in the book are small and sometimes rather dark, so it's hard to verify the points Mr. Diallo makes in the text. He even ackmowledges their shortcomings in thhe text. The publisher could learn a lot from looking at the excellent quality of the illustrations printed in books on photography published by Rocky Nook. Mr. Diallo posts full sized versions of the photos for download from the book's website, but each one has to be downloaded one at a time. That's really a kludge. In a book about photography, the photos should be printed well enough so that the reader can see what Mr. Diallo is writing about! And his examples should be on a CD included with the book so the reader can apply the lessons, especially the lessons in Chapter 5 about using Photoshop for Black & White. The inadequately printed illustrations means 4 stars, not 5. (A minor quibble: The text about a photo is often on the page before the photo itself. But that's a small matter compared to the poorly reproduced photos themselves.) The second flaw is inevitable. The book was published at the end of 2007 and it covers both software and hardware (printers, scanners, spectrophotometers) very well. That information is getting out of date as of the end of 2009. For example the author describes how to use Photoshop CS3, but the current version is CS4; the Epson 2400 has been replaced by the 2880 and the 3800 by the 3880. It's not a problem for the next year or so (through 2010), but eventually the product-specific information will get stale. Hopefully there will be a new edition -- maybe even one with well-reproduced illustrations and a CD. Still, the techniques the author describes won't get stale, so if you're interested in digital B&W, this is a very good choice.