Top positive review
4 people found this helpful
A coffee table book if ever there was one and it's brilliant!
on 29 June 2012
This has to be about the largest and heaviest book I had ever purchased, weighing in at around 3.5 Kg or 8lbs!
Its content concentrates upon a galaxy of stars of stage and screen, be they actors, singers or musicians. Even its covers are used to further extend the number of images. Thanks to its extra-large page size, many of its images are displayed full-page and which allows a greater impression than would probably normally be possible. An unusual approach is not to use a glossy paper as you may expect but a slightly textured alternative that feels a little like the silk surface popularly used in photo printing.
Richard Avedon's images were sometimes to be seen in photographic magazines and annuals but more often in prestigious general circulation publications. He was, in many ways, an American equivalent of David Bailey, Terry O'Neill or Patrick Lichfield and was their contemporary. His work included fashion, pop and music idols, advertising, illustration and almost anything else you could name. He worked in black and white and colour with equal ease and was renowned for working with Rolleiflexes, at least at one point in his working life, and the cover image shows that very clearly.
The Rolleiflex was a camera that offered fixed, rather than interchangeable lenses. There were several options including one with a wide angle lens, another with a medium telephoto and a small number of choices of standard lens of either 75 or 80mm; the latter was the Planar as used on the Hasselblad and capable of outstanding performance. In addition to the 6x6cm models using 120 (and later, 220) format film, there was a baby version using 127 film and with images of 4.5x4.5cm. Despite the restrictions imposed by needing three separate cameras if you wanted all three focal lengths, and some did, it is almost unbelievable that so much could be photographically achieved.
There are a great many of his images within and some may be known to many readers as they were often seen. Some may be recognised, but not necessarily as his work. However, recognised or not, the abilities of the photographer were of the highest calibre. The images are often presented here in a larger size than they were previously seen and that can only be of benefit to the reader.
Although sorely tempted to keep the book, and having purchased several others at the same time, I am choosing to return it primarily due to its size and bulk. It is too large for my bookshelf and I do not have a spare coffee table!