A pair of inviting eyes and an almost beckoning finger draw you into this remarkable book. Jane Bown's "Faces: The Creative Process Behind Great Portraits" is a collection of some of her best photographs of famous people.
Photographer extrodinaire, her talent is evident on each page and, when we read the brief descriptions of how each picture was taken, it is even more amazing. Some were taken with only a few minutes of time allocated and in very difficult locations.
The black and white pictures, taken mostly in natural light, reveal subjects relaxed and comfortable. As we look at them, we see more than just a face, but not as voyeurs. There is no unwanted exposure, just intimacy and trust between subject and photographer.
Subjects range from John Lennon and Paul McCartney to Mother Theresa via Richard Burton, Noel Coward and Orson Welles. John Betjeman's laugh is a masterpiece and a pensive Eartha Kitt is moving. There is nothing intrusive, but we can feel a personal empathy with them, thoughtful, contemplative, laughing, dreaming or, sometimes, smiling.
We see familiar people in a different light and learn a little more about them. This is a book that I shall return to frequently, certain to find something new each time.