10/08/2010

USA Western National Parks


New book just released!

I was waiting to check the first printing books before making public this release. Now, once the results have passed the quality control, the book is available through Blurb:
http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1500286

This book is a journey through the western USA National Parks, as well as through the digital Black and White photography under a subjective way.

7 states, 158 pages, more than 70 B&W photographs, and a little essay about the possibilities that black and white photography brings us at present time (bilingual edition: english, spanish).

You can have a look at some pictures of this book by its preview just cliking on this address:
http://www.blurb.com/books/1500286

And about the book texts, please see below a little selection:

"About digital B&W photography:

(...) With the quick general adoption of digital photography, the black and white image (as other analogical processes), seemed to loose its preeminence. Luckily, it only seemed so.

This fast evolution, which has turned the digital medium into the more quickly well-established standard, offers a flexibility without precedents in photography. Both for the classic black and white image as well as for the rest of photographic techniques.

(...)

To explain, in short, my opinion about the possibilities that digital photography brings us, I will refer now, only some examples related to B&W photography.

(...)

I was talking about examples; let's see three of them. I am going to highlight only three, that can be itemized in many more. We might name them as "three desires" that a black and white film photographer would have had (we are talking now about the analogical process, of course). Each of them, will be related with three key moments of the photographic process: the shot (in the digital era, more habitually named with a term not far from parallel connotations: " the capture "), the film developing and the printing.

(...)

The flexibility of the digital files allows us to convert the captured colour images (RGB) to black and white through any chromatic density in the moment of the conversion (after the capture), as if it was the moment of the capture (certainly, with subtle differences as the safety of doing it in front of the monitor; which allows us to try several alternatives and assess the results, without worrying about it in the capture). Likewise, we can modify the density, grain, contrast, tonal gradation, etc. of our images as we wish. All this, in a much subtler way and without the required virtuosity needed for the same tasks in the analogical era.

I said before that digital photography allows us much more. And this is so. With the synthetic aim for this introduction (already mentioned lines above), I will mention only some of the tools that replace (and increase enormously) the possibilities that offered us the almost indispensable masks in the printing process: nowadays we can use selections, brushes, layers, channels,... and a great variety of additional tools (controlled also by its opacity and its blend mode). We must not forget that this combinatory variety is multiplied by the options in the moment of the capture (once again, wider, without looking for an in-depth list: variable ISO, more advanced noise and grain reduction filters added to high-quality sensors more sensitive and less "noisy", etc.).

(...)

After this light and synthetic "tour" along the virtues of our current photographic procedure, I suppose that there will be some partially disaccording opinions...

Amongst these potential reticences, I understand absolutely those who look at monochrome photography as something different to a simply formal aspect. On the contrary, they see (and/or they recognize from the analogical era) B&W photography as a "way of looking, catching and expressing", more than a simple formal finishing alternative. Among other arguments, I understand perfectly (and agree with) this opinion, as well as the one that mistrusts the "undo" function, in the creation of a criterion. I totally agree with them. Working on black and white, it turns out very useful (but not indispensable), to look in black and white. I mean: pre-visualise the final result when we are in front of the scene.

Looking at the scene taking decisions, not only about the capture (exposure, composition,...) but also about the final photograph, even to a formal level, is an invaluable help.

(...)

But, this is not opposite to digital photography. The production of a criterion is so important right now as it was before. The control potentiality of the digital media helps us to create and improve this criterion, in the same way it can allow us not to do it... it is not a responsibility of the media itself to establish this criterion. On the contrary, it is a responsibility of the photography teaching methods (and then, of the learning process).

(...)

About this Book:

In a photographic work like the one appearing in this book, the descriptive and even documentary attributes (close to the "apparent objectivity", traditionally assigned to the photographic language), are not the essential purpose. On the contrary, the intention is to take advantage of a much richer and more photographic language, in my opinion: the subjective, timeless and evocative potential. At the same time, there is neither any type of linearity, nor external artifice in the arrangement of the images, except in the book structure's connatural ones (double page, cover, order of reading, etc.).

(...)

Let's be critical: it is not very original to publish a book about the National Parks of The United States (or simply not original at all, indeed), after the magnificent works that remain in the memory of any photography fan or connoisseur, with a bit of baggage on classic and not so classic, authors. After these precedents, trying to be original with the arrangement of these pictures is not the main concern. I cannot avoid thinking, if I try to do it, that it is just an excuse ... and therefore, quite alien to this photographic work in itself.

Yes, yes, this way it is ... there are no external fixed guidelines for this edition that justifies mystically this work. The selection and arrangement of the images throughout the book, has been carried out avoiding any "road map" of this type; not rhythmically controlled, no claim to chaos. Obviously, some reason will have had to place (for example) in page 49 the picture that we can find in page 49 and not other one... Let's call it simply random ... and not too much sought; or let's call it "why not?" (that in the end, is more or less the same thing).

In this concrete case, the final result will not be pleasing or displeasing because someone knows the "key" to decipher the cryptic distribution of the images. If you are going to start this book from the beginning (or you have already finished it), expecting to find the rules to understand what is beyond the images, do not worry ... there are none.

(...)

There are no excuses or foreign alibis (in some cases, so artificial and so faraway to photography, that they need their own "instructions manual"). In this case, the decision was to do it that way. It's not a method to follow or avoid. It is a way to make the most of the creative process freedom and its associated risks. Maybe in the next work I will repeat the same form... or not. There is no obligation to keep faithfully adhered (or limited) to a combinatorial structure with the idea of outlining a "style".

(...)"

More texts and pictures, of course, in the book:
http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1500286

More books by the author:
http://www.blurb.com/user/photomamp

Feel free to use the comments section of this entry, or in the book page (Blurb website), to share your opinions!

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