Top critical review
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A good effort but not indispensable
on 4 February 2008
This book comprises 197 pages of colour photographs (plus 10 of text) featuring female models of varying ages (roughly twenties to forties), builds and races. The images are arranged thematically (standing, bending, kneeling, etc). The poses are typical academic figure study types, and would be useful to anyone needing material to learn from. Unfortunately, the soft-binding of the book means that it is almost impossible to hold it flat without breaking the spine of it (see below). Also, one or two poses are rendered utterly useless because they are spread across facing pages. This was a stupid design decision - if the only way to include the images was to do it in this way, then they could have been omitted completely. The pregnant figure gets only six images, but given the limited range possible in a book of this size, it's not really a surprise.
More about the binding problem: I generally don't work straight from photographs, but prefer to scan them and display them on a computer monitor. This has the advantage that I can view the images much larger than they appear in the book, I can pan and zoom around to see the detail clearly, make the handy switch to monochrome, and it overcomes the limitations of the binding.
My work is partly academic, partly commercial, so not all the poses suit my purposes. However, my preferred subject poses are fairly orthodox, I think, but I found only about thirty of the poses of any real artistic interest to me.
Overall, it is a handy book to have around if you are studying figure drawing, but if the studio were burning down it wouldn't be something I tried hard to save.