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Attractive images, sometimes, but it fails to tick all possible boxes
on 25 July 2012
I was not especially aware of this photographer's work or her blogs and I am not especially a fan of the creative portraiture concept. I was brought up with classic portraiture and knew several photographers who were masters of the style, amongst whom were tutors on the top London college courses.
The author is very young and not long out of her photography course. Her imagery is highly dependant upon the use of Photoshop in order to be able to often present the image in a style that divorces it from reality. Although she sometimes works with professional models, she also uses a model who is quite free - herself. This is a trait shared by many creative portrait photographers and I have yet to find one that personally and consistently pleases. She is often compared with Cindy Sherman whose sole model is herself and whose imagery I find boring and uninspiring. You will find other books on self-portraiture that may serve better than this if you consider that to be a worthwhile route, and it is worthwhile to compare them.
Rather than indulge in self-portraiture, I would strongly suggest that you find a model, a friend, sibling or other relative, a neighbour or a work colleague who may be prepared to work with you in exchange for a finished print or two which would be considerably easier than to try to simultaneously be model and photographer.
As a book on portraiture, it is surpassed by others. I would suggest that any potential reader study and perfect classic portraiture and then move to the creative form. There are many books with photography by Bailey, Avedon, Snowdon and Lichfield amongst the more modern photographers that may serve the reader well. If the basics are not fully understood, there is little point in attempting the complex. There are also better books on photo-manipulation with Photoshop (by Katrin Eismann and Scott Kelby, and others) and several courses on DVD (some also by Kelby) on the same general subject that come as close as possible to being a one-on-one training session.
The book is trying too hard to be a jack-of-all-trades, but falls slightly short in each area.