Zone System Manual Minor White

Ian-Barber

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I would like to read the Zone System Manual Minor White book but I am seeing many variations of it, some with a yellow cover and square one with a blue cover and I don't want to buy the wrong one.

Can anyone suggest which version to buy please.
 

Bill Martindale

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I'm doing the same Ian. What I look for is the publication date, not always given, as in my mind I want the latest version so that the referenced materials are the most recent. That would appear to be the one with the blue cover. What you need to be careful of is that some sellers use a library image of the latest version but are actually selling an older version. There is also one with a white cover just to add to the confusion. I think the last version to be published was 2003.
 
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Ian Grant

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I have one of the Yellow cover versions which is the "New Revised Edition" which is the Fourth Edition (1967), 3rd Printing 1970.
In all honesty the Zone System explanation in the "The Negative" Ansel Adams is better as it's written later and has better illustrations.

Ian
 

Ian-Barber

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I have one of the Yellow cover versions which is the "New Revised Edition" which is the Fourth Edition (1967), 3rd Printing 1970.
In all honesty the Zone System explanation in the "The Negative" Ansel Adams is better as it's written later and has better illustrations.

Ian
Thanks Ian, I have The Negative but was just curious as to what Minor White had to say but if The Negative is better written then I probably won't bother unless I trip over it on eBay at a reasonable cost.
 

David M

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From memory, Ansel's book simplifies sensitometry and Minor's complicates it again.
 

Ian Grant

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I have another book "How to Use the Zone System for Fine B&W Photography" by John P. Shaeffer first published in1983, I picked it up for £1 at a camera fair last year. It's methods of testing are cumbersome and the approach taught here in the UK is much more practical and easier to understand.

The later "Minor White New Zone System Manual" with a Blue cover was a Reevised Edition by Richard Zakia so isn't pure in terms of being Minor white's original work and came out 11 years after his death.

The late Peter Goldfield had a very practical section on simple use of the Zone System in his excellent little publication "The Goldfinger Craftbook For Creative Photography" If you do a Google search you can download it as a PDF. Peter spent some time assisting Paul
Caponigro a student and friend of Minor White and later taught and ran workshops and his approach to the Zone System was straight forward.

Ian
 
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David M

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I've put a reference to the Goldfinger Craftbook in Resources. It's downloadable. The PDF itself is too big to post here. In some ways, it's a historical document, but the advice is still sound.
I've also posted a review of the Craftbook.
We shouldn't forget Martin Reed, who was a partner in Goldfinger and went on to found Silverprint.
Silverprint is now in other hands and deals mostly on the web.
 

Ian Grant

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Martin worked for Peter Goldfield he wasn't a partner. When Goldfield closed Goldfinger after Agfa began distribution of B&W materials and chemistry again Martin moved and carried on trading with the customer base as Silverprint. Before Goldfinger Martin had worked at I think Harringay Photographic Supplies for Roy of RK Photographics father.

Ian
 

David M

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This is the time for us to say "Welcome Martin." Simultaneously New and Well-known.
Thanks for the information.
 

Ian Grant

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Yes welcome Martin, it's many years since I met you surrounded by piles of boxes of strange unknown (in the UK) brands of photographic paper :D

Ian
 

Ian Grant

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Yes, the old Record Rapid with Cadmium in was superb, but I found Forte Polywarmtone a fantastic paper still have some left from the last coating run.

Peter Goldfield told me (and others on workshops) he'd assisted Paul Caponigro in the US and helped with workshops there, then Capanigro lead workshops for Peter at Duckspool. I guess that was the time Capanigro was in the UK shooting Megaliths, not his greatest work and definitely not an example of good use of the Zone System.

Like you I've become a fan of big wood & brass cameras :D

Ian
 

David M

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I went to a workshop at Duckspool with Paul Caponigro. One thing I remember was that we began in the darkroom by producing simple shades of grey, without any image. In retrospect it was an excellent way to make us think about what images are made of.

When discussing the Zone System, we might care to recall that it's simplified sensitometry for use in the field and might be best kept so. Some writers seem eager to restore the complexity and turn it into a full-time hobby.
We might also note that it's what the Great Man said, not necessarily what he did. It's technique recollected in tranquillity.
 
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