This book is excellent in its discussion of the craft of black and white film photography as applied to nature and the printing of these images. The illustrations of Mr. Birnbaum’s prints attest to his erpertise as a printer as well as a photographer of nature and architecture. The book includes detailed explanations of the zone system and his technique of black and white printing.
There are extended discussions of the elements of composition, visualization, light and color. For any photographer interested in these aspects of photography, I highly recommend the book.
What I found lacking, indeed in error, are his statements on composition, particularly on what most call the “Rules of Composition,” what I prefer to call “guidelines of composition.” His discussions on digital photography and Photoshop are incomplete and, at times, misleading. Nor do I feel it is necessary to include political statements disparaging former presidents or those who realize that their memory books are filled with mere snapshots of places they have been. This is a very erudite book and the author has done both himself and his readers a disservice.
In closing, I must emphasize that if you are interested in the black and white film photography of nature and in making beautiful black and white enlargements, The Art of Photography by Bruce Birnbaum, should be a part of your reference library.
Charles Heisterkamp, III, M.D. Photographer