Experimental Photography - A Book Review

The title is somewhat misleading, considering that a good portion of the book introduces the reader to numerous first techniques available for processing images more than a century ago. Never-the-less, there are plenty of examples of creating your one-of-a-kind camera or pin hole system one may wish to build for truly surprising and experimental photographs.

Having tea and reading up on “Experimental Photography”

This books serves a good purpose by introducing curious photographers in the alternative imaging processes without going into great depth. In a way, “Experimental Photography” serves as a guide for mobile photographers using applications like Hipstamatic Classic camera, or the post processing app “Photo Copier” and the like, who base a good portion of their filters on old traditional photographic photo processes and provides them with an understanding how the image was created. 

Sample pages from “Experimental Photography”

I also believe the book offers a photographer of viewing at their own work differently, by thinking how any of these older techniques or mobile application filters would complement a certain subject or scene.

Everything in the book is nicely compartmentalized, brief and direct, with each concept given two pages and in some cases four, is one of the reasons I refer to this as a book that introduces one to the different techniques with plenty of examples, rather then go into great depth. There is however a good index to all the chemical mentioned in the book with further notations and chemical safety information. 

There are also listed thirty-nine other publications for further reading on alternative processes and printing, one would find very useful as a base source.

Sample pages from “Experimental Photography”

Final Thoughts

The book does provide a service for the inquisitive individual desiring an introduction to alternative processes, while lacking further detailed information on a specific method, which no doubt would have greatly increase its current 240 pages and so I cannot fault the publisher.

There are plenty examples of building ones own alternative image capturing device or altering an instant or film camera most interesting, considering that there are many used film cameras inexpensively available for purchase.

There is also a nice addition of various photographers being interviewed about their work and these alternative processes mentioned in the book, that can only inspire and generate ones creative juices.

The book does an excellent job at all of this and thereby opening the readers eyes to all these various processes and possibilities they are able to explore and so develop their artistic craft further. 

If one desires a greater depth of information on these various traditional old time processes, this book is not for you and while I had hoped the authors would have focused more on experimental photographic techniques using not only film but also a DSLR or mobile device, the book is still a good resource.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

“Experimental Photography”

240 pages with over 600 illustrations, 

Authored by: Marco Antonini, Sergio Minniti, Francisco Gomez, Gabriele Lungarella, and Luca Bendandi

Edited by: Luca Bendandi

Published by: Thames & Hudson, 2015

ISBN 978-0-500-54437-2 Hardbound edition, $45.00 US Dollar

All photographs taken with an iPhone by
©2015 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

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