HW Janson "History of Art"

Discussion in 'B&W: Film, Paper, Chemistry' started by David Lyga, May 24, 2012.

  1. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

    Nov 25, 2007
    Has anyone ever seen the famous art book by HW Janson 'History of Art'? This book was originally published in 1962 and updated since. Janson is now deceased but the book lives on in libraries throughout the world. There are many black and white photographs in the book of outdoor works of art, such as monuments, facades, famous cathedrals, etc. I am continually astonished with the quality and tonal aspects of such monochrome work.

    And it is not only this book: there were many travel books published before the onslaught of color photography that amaze as well. What I am getting at here is the really spectacular tonal quality of the prints: I guess the best way to impart what I want to say is that there is mighty contrast without the prints appearing 'soot and whitewash'. One can readily see important shadow detail and there just seems to be more of an overall tonal range in the paper! This was an era whereby the art of black and white was taken seriously before it became perceived as 'less beautiful' than color. One can see this in old B&W Hollywood movies (my favorite is THE THIRD MAN) and many, many others. I think that the older films must have given more effect with the various filters and that red filters (or dark orange) must have been used frequently. - David Lyga