Portraiture and a Gift for Myself

With the beginning of the New Year my Christmas gift to myself arrived.  It is Gregory Heisler’s  50 Portraits.  I had been reading from all the photographers that I hold in high regard (Scott Kelby, Joe McNally and few others) that this was a MUST read.  I must agree.  I’ve had a really hard time putting it down.  It is well written and Gregory’s writing style is very genuine and flows effortlessly.  His description of each portrait is, to say the least, engaging.  After reading each of these descriptions I find myself examining each of the portraits with a fine-toothed comb.  Looking for all the clues to the lighting techniques.  But what I find is more than just lighting technique or high tech cameras at work.  (In fact most of the images are created with either an old school 11×14 view camera or an RZ67 medium format film camera.)  What it is is Heisler’s ability to capture the essence of the subject.  Whether and extreme close-up or a full length portrait of Al Pacino, his ability to connect with the subject.  With each subject placing their trust in this artist to capture them in a way that is not always about flattery but honestly.  If you are a photographer let alone a portrait photographer this IS a must read.

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