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Tuesday, May 13

Analogbooks: The perfect notebooks for photographers and printers

FADU (the Film and Darkroom User Group) is my favourite hang-out but it has to be said that I'm pretty hopeless at keeping up to date with everything that's going on over there. That's why I've only now discovered a post of some vintage by Ed Bray highlighting a Kickstarter project, Analogbook, which should be really useful for film photographers.

It's a simple idea that will no doubt have us all asking, "Why didn't I think of that?" Well, it doesn't really matter as someone has and it's set to make our lives much easier and do away with those copious but badly organised notes about exposures and darkroom printing maps that we've all got lying around.

The project by Andrew Ranville actually reached its target back in March and the notebooks should be available in mid-June. The Analogbooks come in four different configurations for 35mm, medium format, large format and for keeping track of darkroom prints.

Andrew said, "As an artist who regularly uses the photographic medium, I was looking for a way to more accurately record my process. I love gathering data, looking back on notes from each exploration and each snap of the shutter. After a summer of shooting photographs for an upcoming exhibition, I noticed my standard notebook was filled with small scribbled logs of f-stops, shutter speeds, times of day, and more.

"Opening up my film folders I found countless sheets of paper with exposure and colour correction notes. There had to be a better way to gather and store this information. There had to be a way to make this information more tangible, more valuable to my process and arts practice as a whole. Unfortunately I couldn't find an existing system that offered this, so I decided to design and make it myself, with the input of Kickstarter backers."

The 35mm Analogbook

From the Kickstarter website, "Each Analogbook is professionally printed using the lithographic process on 100% recycled, highly-writable 80gsm paper with a sturdy 300gsm cover. Each features a template to record a comprehensive set of photographic data (f-stop, shutter speed, time, location, film ISO, camera/lens, and much more), and several blank pages in the back for additional notes or sketches.

"Printed on the interior front and rear cover are custom layouts of useful photographic charts and tables including Exposure Value combinations, Zone System information, development and printing guides, and much more.

"The different colours on the covers and spines make it easy to discern the different film formats when filed into an archive. In addition, the back cover doubles as an 18% reflectance grey card, helping you achieve accurate light meter readings."

In other words, the Analogbooks sound perfect for those important photography-related notes that we should all be taking to help us better understand our successes and failures but which many of us don't because it's too much bother scribbling it all down on bits of paper.

It's worth a visit to Andrew's Kickstarter page for full details about the books and their availability.


Herman Sheephouse said...

It's a nice idea, but they're expensive and tbh as easily misplaced in the field as a sheet of paper with scribblings on. I'll stick with my folded bits of copy paper and transferring to a 'stays at home' Moleskine.
I've found that method works well for me as I can write up details/feelings/weather too and it makes for interesting reading years later, rather than just a record of shutter speeds/apertures.
As for darkroom notes .. easy peasy. Make a master print, note all details (paper, lens, exposure, f-stop, developer, toner) on the back of that in 2B pencil and keep it filed safely - no need for a book.

Herman Sheephouse said...

Sorry - said they were expensive . . didn't read the details properly - they're not that bad actually - but is it acid-free paper?

Antonio Aparicio said...

Nice idea but there doesn't seem to be any indicate of price or even where you can buy one!

Bruce Robbins said...

Phil, acid-free paper AND selenium toned! As for their usefulness, I think you're judging the books by your own well-organised standards. Your system of note-keeping sounds great but I surely can't be the only person who falls far short of that standard. Organisationally, I'm a mess. Whilst it is theoretically possible for me to follow your example, the chances of that happening are about the same as me coming to terms with a rangefinder. However, I love the idea of keeping notes about the weather, etc, so you can relive some pleasant forays into the photographic jungle.

Herman Sheephouse said...

Bruce - neatness is not my forte, but after several trips into the mountains with the Rollei, I thought I would like to detail things better, so did and have kept notes of all films and processing for the pasty 10 or so years - it's easy - you just have to be methodical.

Bruce Robbins said...

"Bruce - neatness is not my forte".

I'll bet it's not your Adox either. (Altogether now - groan...)