Book Review: Face: The New Photographic Portrait by William A Ewing

I bought this book back in June last year (from the guy in the photo) but only found time to read it this evening.

Face: The New Photographic Portrait by William A Ewing explores headshots that encompass a wide variety of styles.  I'd not have chosen the same photo for the cover as it makes it appear as though the book is a Photoshop Guide, and it's a far better book than that.

The books main opening portrait is by Loretta Lux who I'd vaguely heard of.  Lux specialises in unsettling portraits of children.  Sometimes there's a melancholy to the image, or perhaps it's that there doesn't seem to be any spark of life present.  It brings to mind The Stepford Wives.  You can see more of her work over at her website.

The book is an embarrassment of riches.  A haunting photo that shows the face of Ms. Scobee's face as her husband commanded the Challenger at the point of it exploding 73 seconds after launch.

The dead posed to look like the living.

A couple of photos - of course - by Cindy Sherman.

Just too much to list.  Go and buy it now.  You can get it second hand for about a tenner.


Book: Portraits by Martin Schoeller

I finally got round to reading / looking through this large beast of a book.  I'd liked Schoeller's "close up" portraits for a while, and had admired how he really tries to encapsulate a person's personality in a portrait - whether close up, or environmental.  It's such an amazing inspirational book to view.  Sure, he's a master of the technicalities of the what he's doing but obvious joy and interest in really nailing the concept he has in his head.  It's a book I know i'll go back to a lot.  

Review: Subway by Bruce Davidson

The introduction and opening text is interesting and I do like quite a few of the photos in thsi book I just fail to connect with it in the way I did with the other "subway book" I have; Life Below by Christophe Agou.

There was a sense of hope in Agou's work.  A beauty.  Now of course the subway in the eighties was a far different place than that of the nineties from where Agou's photos come from.  I think on balance it's the style of photography that grips me more with the work of Christophe Agou.  Both are definitely worth buying but if you can only get one i'd go for... well, you know.

Bruce Davidson: Subway
By Bruce Davidson, Fred Braithwaite

Here's my favourite photo from Agou's book.  Reprinted without permission so i'll remove it if asked.

Favourite books of 2014 - Part Two.

Just a reminder that this is a list of the favourite books that I got in 2014 rather than than books that were necessarily published in 2014.


Mike Brodie - a Period of Juvenile Prosperity
Twin Palms Publishers

I think I connect so much with Mike Brodie's "A Period of Juvenile Prosperity" simply because it's an idea that i'd LOVE to do but know I never will.

To nab the product description;

"At 17 Mike Brodie hopped his first train close to his home in Pensacola, FL thinking he would visit a friend in Mobile, AL. Instead the train went in the opposite direction to Jacksonville, FL. Days later, Brodie rode the same train home, arriving back where he started. Nonetheless, it sparked something and Brodie began to wander across the U.S. by any means that were free - walking, hitchhiking and train hopping. Shortly after, Brodie found a Polaroid camera stuffed behind a carseat. With no training in photography, the instant camera was an opening for Brodie to document his experiences. As a way of staying in touch with his transient community, Brodie shared his pictures on various websites gaining the moniker "The Polaroid Kidd" [sic]. When the Polaroid film he used was discontinued, Brodie switched to 35mm film and a sturdy 1980's camera. Brodie spent years crisscrossing the U.S. amassing a collection, now appreciated as one of the most impressive archives of American travel photography. When asked about his approach to travel and photography Brodie has said "sometimes I take a train the wrong way or...whatever happens a photo will come out of it, so it doesn't really matter where I end up."


Magnum Contact Sheets
By Kristen Lubben

A BEHEMOTH of a book this is actually what you'd imagine it is.  Containing the quality of photography you'd expect from Magnum photographers you get to see them within the context of the contact sheets (which, in the digital age, I really miss).

Book Review: Photography Q&A by Zack Arias

This is such a great book.  Not to quote adverts, but it does exactly what it says on the tin.  You can't fail to like Zack's plain-speaking and clarity on all questions posed.  A technically gifted photographer and all-round nice guy I can't recommend this book highly enough.  Stick it by the bed and leaf through it.  You won't be sorry.