Three photo books have been delivered by the postie in the last week. (thank you, AbeBooks and the Book Depository. They are all on portraits but are very different and each is inspiring in its own way.
The first is Gregory Heisler’s 50 portraits: stories and techniques from a photographer’s photographer. This is a sumptuous hardback, which looks at how he made fifty images of famous people. The styles of the images vary hugely and for each one, he has described the back ground to the shoot and the process of how he decided on the technique for the final image. It is a fascinating read and will be on my bedside table for the next few weeks.
The second is Dan Winters’ Road to Seeing. It is quite similar in subject to Heisler’s and describes how he went about choosing subjects, locations and settings for his images. The book is a joy to hold – beautifully bound and a solid 2″ thick. Both of these will be useful source books for ideas on portraits for this module.
Finally, I managed to get a copy of Nobuyoshi Araki’s Self : Life : Death. Araki is a prolific Japanese photographer who mostly produces his images from the his local environment. He is known for his sexual images, which often feature young girls in bondage situations, but his oeuvre is in fact much wider and covers family and macro photography too. His work is a wonderful (and slightly deranged) mishmash of different genres, and the book is inspirational in a bizarre, almost psychedelic way. What particularly appeals to me are his colour images, which have a delicacy, despite their often difficult subject matter. As a general rule, I am not keen to support anything promoting female bondage, but his subjects don’t appear to be suffering in any way, and tend to have a remote, uninterested look on their faces. The colours are what attracts me most – they are deep and vibrant and have a tonality that we do not normally use in the West.
All three of these are full of different ways of taking portraits, and I am looking forward to thumbing through them to see how I can apply some of their ideas to my own work.