Infrared Photography Books
A Less-Than-Comprehensive Bibliography
The following list contains only books that I have personally
and found useful in my own infrared photography. For convenience,
I have linked titles to Amazon.com, in case you are not lucky enough to
have a real neighborhood book store that will special
order relatively obscure books. Many of these books are also available
from better libraries or through interlibrary loan.
This is not by any
stretch a comprehensive list of infrared
photography books. Among
other shortcomings, it is limited to books that I can read, so there is
no coverage of extensive German writings on the subject, for example.
People sometimes ask me why a particular book on IR
photography is not on my list. Probably because I either haven't
read it yet, or didn't find it particularly useful. If you have
a new book that you think should be on my list, feel free to send me a
copy and I'll be happy to read it!
The One Book You Really Want
The most comprehensive book on infrared photography, Clark and
Photography by Infrared: Its Principles and Applications,
is unfortunately out of print. You may be able to find this
book in better library systems or at good used book stores.
This book addresses the science behind infrared
photography in far more detail than any of the popular books
on the subject, and provides a wealth of useful information.
Its information on specific IR films is well out of date, even
in the most recent edition (1978), but the fundamentals remain sound.
In my personal opinion, the rapid growth of digital infrared
presents an excellent opportunity for a new edition of this book,
combining updated film data (adding Konica and MACO, updating
Kodak's various offerings) with general information on the use of
digital cameras for infrared. Any camera-specific information would of
course go out of date even faster than the information on film from
decades past, but the general principles will remain the same.
General Infrared Information
Photography Handbook by Laurie White. A relatively
technical introductory book on infrared photography, with details
on the exposure and processing of Kodak High Speed Infrared
(HIE), filters, etc. By "relatively technical," I mean in
comparison to many of the other popular books on infrared
today, especially the others available from the same publisher,
Amherst Media. It's not nearly as technical as M-28 or Clark &
Gibson, but it goes well beyond the artsy coffee-table-book approach.
Infrared Photography Handbook by Laurie White
takes up where her previous book left off, providing more detailed
exposure, filtration, and lighting information. One very handy
addition is a number of example pages with comparisons of HIE,
Konica 750, and Ilford SFX under varying conditions, e.g. the same
scene shot four times on each film, using no filter, #15 orange,
#25 red, and #87 opaque. I don't entirely agree with everything she
has to say (for instance, I find a polarizer very useful for some
landscapes with Konica 750, while she considers polarizers not useful
for infrared), but it's a very informative book, well worth reading.
Digital Infrared Photography by Cyrill Harnischmacher
provides a basic introduction
to IR photography and good information on shooting IR with digital
- Applied Infrared Photography, Kodak
Publication No. M-28.
There have been many different versions of this publication from
Eastman Kodak. Older editions carry data for obsolete films, and
even the newest editions do not have information on Kodak's
newest films, or on other manufacturers' infrared films. Still,
this guide does provide a reasonably detailed introduction to the use
of both black-and-white and color infrared films, with exposure
data, examples of different filter types, and information on
applications ranging from art to archaeology to medicine to
As a Kodak technical work it was very inexpensive, $4.50
my 1977 edition. But now that it is out of print, used book
searches will often show no copies available under $100. You're
better off browsing photo swap meets and watching eBay ads than
paying those prices.
Art of Infrared Photography by Joseph Paduano. This
is less technically detailed than M-28 or Clark & Gibson, but
a broad overview of the artistic potential of infrared. I
actually preferred a previous edition, whose printing suggested
the impact toning can have on the ethereal mood of HIE, but the
current edition is still an excellent book, and would make a good
one-volume introduction to infrared photography.
Infrared People Photography
Landscape Photography by Todd Damiano. This book
provides the aspiring landscape photographer with dozens of
excellent examples. Unfortunately, it's relatively light on
technical details, so you may be left wanting to achieve an
effect without knowing how. If you want to work on infrared
landscapes, I'd suggest getting this book for inspiration, but
one of the general IR books for more information.
Ruins: The Once Great Houses of Ireland by Simon
Marsden isn't an infrared photography book per se. It's a fabulous
collection of infrared photographs of great houses in
disrepair. The grainy, halated look of infrared is perfect for
these otherworldly relics of a different age. But don't go
looking for any technical details, this is a book of art, not
science, and it doesn't actually mention that the images are shot
on infrared film.
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