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I've decided to put together a list of recommended photography books. A short list, but ones I have found very useful. Some general photography and some for large format. The list is short primarily because I have always felt that reading other people's work influences our own too much. Better to do your own thing... But when I got into large format, I realized that some books did help quite a bit, and it went from there... Any suggestions for other books to include in this list are very welcomed...

The Camera

The Negative

The Print

by Ansel Adams, published by Little, Brown & Company.

For many reasons, the first books on this list are from Ansel Adams ;-)

These fine books are still in print and available from any good book store or photography dealer. The 3 book series will teach you everything you need to know about photography for just about any kind of camera. Well worth the investment in money and time to read!

Using the View Camera

by Steve Simmons ( of View Camera Magazine)

An excellent book on using large format view cameras. If you're new to LF, get this book!
The View Camera

by Harvey Shaman

Another good book on using large format view cameras. Very similar to Steve Simmons, but just not quite as good, in my personal opinion...
View Camera Technique

by Leslie Stroebel

Reputed to be the 'bible' of large format photography. The 7th edition is the latest and I have to admit that this is a very good book and well worth the investment if you're into LF. Cover just about everything you could need in LF. Some subjects are a bit brief, but good starting points. Some great charts & formulas.
Large Format Nature Photography

by Jack Dykinga

More limited in scope and uniquely written. A great book to see how someone else does nature photography with LF. Explanations and examples of different areas and conditions. How would you protect your view camera from rain in the field? See how Jack does it... Some people don't like the style, the photos and even the whole book. I like it and recommend it if you like to shoot outdoors. But don't expect a lot of words...
Tao of Photography
Seeing Beyond Seeing

by Philippe L. Gross and S.I. Shapiro

An exceptional book that will improve your photography and maybe even your life. The basic concept is to free up your mind for a fresh way of seeing towards better photography. You don't have to know anything about the Tao to read and enjoy this book.
Art & Fear

by David Bayles

A great short-read book that will help you just go out and do it! If you're stuck in a slump or questioning your art, read this book!
Ansel Adams


The Making of 40 Photographs

by Ansel Adams

This is an excellent book that every photographer should own and read. Not only 40 great photographs by Adams, but each one is described in detail about the thought and photographic process that Adams used to create it. Plus some humorour musings.
Black & White Landscape Photography

by John Collet and David Collet

I put this here in contrast to Jack Dykinga's book. A lot of words, but most express the obvious. If you need what this book teaches, perhaps you shouldn't have a LF camera! It's partially interesting with a few good points, but overall superficial. It's really a photography primer, right down to the rule of thirds... If you're new to photography, then it would be recommended...
Close-up Photography

the Kodak Workshop Series

by William White, Jr.

Multi-format and all about doing close-up shots. Some good explanations and examples, formulas and techniques. Not very expensive and worth the read if you're into close-ups.
Field Photography

Beginning and Advanced Techniques

by Alfred A. Blaker

This large book was recommended by Dan, a friend from graflex.org. As the title suggests, it's a manual for field photography. Chock full of tables and formulas and mostly useful! A lot of info on close-up work and the whole book has an emphasis on large format gear along with medium and 35mm. A great reference and highly recommended for beginner or advanced. Long out of print, but obtainable.
A Technical Manual

Beyond Basic Photography

by Henry Horenstein

An overall 'manual' on photography with some good explanations and ideas. Does cover some LF, developing, printing and of course the taking. A bit much for a rank beginner, not enough for a pro, great for anyone in between. Some subjects are a bit brief, but there's a "Further reading" list at the end of every chapter to keep you going.
The Darkroom Cookbook

by Stephen G. Anchell

If you do your own darkroom processing, get this book. Even if you don't mix your own chemicals, it's worth having just as a reference and to find out what's really going on inside the tank.
The Film Developing Cookbook

by Stephen G. Anchell & Bill Troop

A new addition to the cookbooks, this dedicated to film developing. Formulas & chemicals & processes. To be honest, I expected more, but it's worth the price just for the formula to Microdol-X ;-)
Coming into Focus

by John Barnier

The book for alternative processes. A definitive 'how to' for mixing your own chemicals for processes like Daguerreotypes, salt prints, Collodion (ambrotypes, tintypes), Kallitypes, and much more. Good reference, well written, just choke full of info and well worth having just for the read even if you don't plan on doing it yourself.
Alternative Photographic Processes

A Working Guide for Image Makers

by Randall Webb & Martin Reed

Not as extensive as 'Coming into Focus', but well written with good examples. Definitely worth having even if you have 'Coming into Focus'.
Graphic Graflex Photography

For Prize Winning Pictures

by Willard D. Morgan & Henry M. Lester

Not in print for many years, the definitive guide for Graphic and Graflex cameras, and photography in general. A great read and full of history. A 'must have' if you own any Graphic camera and well worth the read even if you don't. I recommend at least the 8th edition, 4th printing to cover the newer equipment such as the Graflok back. The 10th & 11th editions are the most popular. Available at some used dealers, book stores and auctions.
Natural Light Photography

by Ansel Adams

A great little book full of info on shooting in natural light. A bit dated and long out of print, but if you find one, grab it...
Polaroid Land Photography

by Ansel Adams

If you shoot LF and Polaroids, get this book. The original edition of 1963 is very dated but good reading. The later edition of 1978 is much expanded and not so dated, covering most of the currently available films. A lot of info, technique and ideas. If you can find one, get it...
Large Format Optical Reference Manual

by J.L."Woody" Wooden

This book is sprial bound, large and just chock full of the technical details of thousands of large format lenses. If you buy used lenses or are not sure what you want (or what is being offered), this book is a great help. Give manufacturer, lens design (for most), coverage. angle of view, image circle, max f-stop and sometimes original shutter. See www.jlwoodywooden.com for more details.

I bought mine from CameraBooks.com

Vade Mecum. CD Rom Vade Mecum. CD Rom containing a database detailing a huge range of (mostly European) early and post-war lenses. Details include the le's history, characteristics, design & rarity available from MW Classic Cameras

Okay, that's the start of my list. I'll add more at some point, but I'm tired of going through the bookshelf and typing at the moment ;-) If you'd like to have a book added to the list, just give me the title, author and brief description and I'll add it here....

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