Langford’s Basic Photography was first published in 1977 and continues to be updated with the most recent 9th edition published in 2010. This photography book comes highly recommended and is the prescribed textbook for some courses. Michael Langford is a well accomplished and respected photographer and teacher.
“Michael Langford, renowned author, teacher, and practitioner, is a legend because of his skill that balanced art and technique. He inspired and taught thousands as Photography Course Director at the Royal College of Art, London, UK.” (GoodReads blurb)
You would then, given the above, expect this book to be extraordinary and while I will say that it is in fact well written and jam packed with technical details, it was not the book I needed. This book is much more for the absolute beginner. I would recommend it for anyone interested in film photography and film processing since this book covers those areas in great technical detail. I, however, am in love with digital photography and the digital darkroom. Sadly, digital is covered only fleetingly.
I enjoyed the first chapter, What Is Photography, because of the theory element and the references to notable professional photographers and their works. The two chapters on the technicalities of light and lighting were also useful to me. I particularly liked that each chapter had a summary and project section at the end. All in all, though, the book isn’t for me. Too much of a focus on film photography and not enough of a challenge to keep me going. I think there are better books out there for the beginning digital photographer who has chosen the self study route like myself.
The Langford’s Advanced Photography book is the next step after this one and I’ll still have a look at that one to see what it covers because there truly is a great deal of detail in Langford’s style so I’m hoping my disenchantment with this Basic one is purely a matter of mismatched level.