a colourful book

Spencer’s Colour Photography in Practice

Toronto. It was the 1970s and photography was growing in popularity with magazines, books, chemicals, printing paper, retailers, camera collecting societies, galleries, and studios popping up everywhere. In March of 1972, I stopped by the local Classics bookshop in Montreal and bought a copy of Colour ¬†Photography in Practice. My book was a revised and reprinted edition of D. A. Spencer’s magnificent 1938 book published by Sir Isaac Pitman & Sons shortly after Kodachrome hit the retail shelves and revolutionized photography. The modern updates in it are by Messrs Mannheim and Hanworth while printing and publishing was by Focal Press of London and New York. The 409 plus pages are heavy with the written word alleviated by some black and white diagrams and the occasional colour insert – no photographs.

Spencer must have been a fan of Alice in Wonderland since his book offers many quotes from Reverend Dodson’s wonderful children’s story. In Spencer’s revised book on colour photography, the trio of authors begin at the very beginning with a couple of chapters on what colour is and how we see it.

The book offers a detailed view of the two main film-based processes (subtractive and additive) and how we used them back in the early 1970s. A worthy addition to the library of any photographic historian. Read from cover to cover, the book will give you a sound grounding in colour and colour photography.

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