“The first edition was a stunning achievement, and one I felt that was not likely to be superceded. Five short years later Christopher James has created a very new work and a new standard. The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes: 2nd Edition is, by far, the best alternative photographic process book ever!”

Richard Sullivan, Founder and Co-Owner, Bostick & Sullivan

The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes: 2nd Edition

Christopher James

The first edition of The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes has become the standard reference text for alternative process photography… and one that artists and students love to read and work from. With his highly congenial and conversational writing style, Christopher James enthusiastically covers the techniques, processes, idiosyncrasies, history, and cultural connections that are such a significant part of the genre. Best of all, Christopher makes it extremely accessible, providing clear instructions, resources, and workflows. This significantly expanded edition is a comprehensive resource that explores literally every aspect of alternative process image making including the lensless camera, calotype, salted paper, anthotype, chlorophyll print, cyanotype, argyrotype, chrysotype, POP, kallitype, ambrotype, wet collodion, Van Dyke, platinum / palladium, Ziatype, gelatin dry plate emulsions, carbon, gum bichromate,  dichromate options, albumen, hand applied emulsions, paper, alternative imaging systems, and digital negative production for alternative processes.


· Examines the historical, procedural, and interdisciplinary connections, and the evolution of images made with light from 1826 through contemporary digital imaging.

· Table and sink set-ups, and complete instructions, for all alternative processes used by historic and modern photographic artists – the majority of which do not require a darkroom - offer exciting creative options and new opportunities for creative expression.

· An extraordinary visual resource with rare historical images and abundant contemporary work from artists, including; Sally Mann, Michael Kenna, Chuck Close, Dan Estabrook, David Hockney, Christopher James, Anselm Keifer, France Scully Osterman & Mark Osterman, Luis Gonzalez Palma, Judy Seigel, George Tice, and Mike Ware. As well, there is a significant collection of student work to "set the bar" in any learning environment.

· Extensive appendices that includes complete chemical descriptions and safety considerations, resources, supply lists, conversion tables and historical & contemporary bibliographies.

“As bit strings take over our photographic being – if not our lives – we need, more than ever, this playful and inspiring manual. James cheerfully and effectively instructs us, whether we are novice or adept, in the alchemical arts of transmuting our expressive photographic images, both digital and analogue, into hand-crafted prints which will forever bear our individual marks.”

Dr. Mike Ware, Author of over 50 books and publications on alternative process, history, process and preservation.

About the Author

Christopher James is Chair of the photography program at The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University and an internationally recognized artist and photographer whose paintings and photographs have been exhibited in galleries and museums in this country and abroad. His work has been published and shown extensively, including shows in The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The George Eastman House, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The first edition of his book, The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes (Delmar Thomson Learning, 2001) received unprecedented critical acclaim, was the winner of The Golden Light Technical Book of the Year award, and is recognized as the definitive text in the genre. James was a Professor at Harvard University from 1978 – 1991 and has lectured and given alternative process workshops throughout the world.

“Christopher James has taken the most thorough book on the hand-made photograph and made it even more complete. It's full of every technical detail, historical anecdote and experimental idea he’s found over many years of research, practice and teaching, without sacrificing an ounce of his familiar enthusiasm and good humor. Even if you weren't interested in alternative photographic processes, you could read this book for pleasure alone.”

Dan Estabrook, Artist, NYC

“Expert alternative printers I know call Christopher James' first edition "the Bible." Now it's an even more lushly illustrated Bible, with clear and complete directions for every process in history. Christopher James has been leading, inspiring, and teaching delighted students for years, in every medium in the field. We are so lucky… he knows everything in the world about all of it.”


Judy Seigel, Publisher/Editor of World Journal of Post-Factory Photography



Also Available:

Photography for the 21st Century/ Miller / Order # 978-1-4180-0938-0

Handbook of Photography, 6th E/ Folts, Lovell & Zwahlen / Order # 978-1-4018-4860-6

Exploring Photoshop CS3 / Hartman & Sholar / Order # 978-1-4180-5259-1

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