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Gregory Heisler: 50 Portraits: Stories and Techniques from a Photographer's Photographer Hardcover – October 22, 2013
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Top Customer Reviews
That last sentence feels strange and somehow sacrilegious to write, but it is absolutely true. And the title is actually a good representation of the book's focus. The pleasant surprise is that he is actually a very good writer, and you can hear him sitting and talking with you as you read it.
This is not a lighting book. Although, to be sure, there is a lot of lighting information in it. Perhaps more value in lighting education than any book I have ever read. What this is, is a 360-degree experience. Each of his fifty portraits gets its own little mini-chapter. The segment leads off with the photo, run full-page if vertical and double-truck if horizontal. The accompanying copy begins with the thought process leading up to the photo -- all of the thousand little things that happen before you press the shutter. You are there, with him, inside his thought process.
And in so many of the portraits, I could see the multiple instances in which I would have failed to come up with the solutions to make great pictures. It's disheartening, in a sense. Like watching someone effortlessly navigate all the way through a video game that had repeatedly stopped you.
Except, it's not effortless. What you get from this is a true sense of the work ethic (or "thought ethic?") that being a great photographer requires. And there is so, so much pre-thinking that goes into consistently being able to make great photos. That may be the biggest takeaway from this.Read more ›
Heisler's "50 Portraits" is exactly that sort of book. Though you can get the technical info by digging into the back, you would totally miss the best this book has to offer in doing so. The real gift is reading Heisler's words. Image by image, he tells the story behind every capture in intricate detail. From the initial assignment call and pre-visualization of the concept, to the stomach-churning stress of the sometimes chaotic moments preceding the final capture, when all of his plans seemed to be falling down around him like the fractured walls of an dilapidated building - this is the insight that no quantity of cookie-cutter workshops could ever provide. Subject interaction, achieving the proper emotion, selecting the context to match the sitter - all of this and more are what makes up the real value of this book.
There is no shortage of info out there about light modifiers, daylight balancing, broad lighting vs. short lighting and so on. But great photography is about so much more than that - it's about the whole creative process and knowing which of all those tricks will work best to compliment a person or an environment and why.Read more ›
Yes, I would have liked to have seen portraits of ordinary people, not just mostly famous personalities. But maybe that will be in the next book.
Don't think twice. Do get this book if you want to learn more about the artist and if you are looking to stop, pause and reflect upon yourself.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
fantastic portraits and the story behind those portraits - very insightful - contains the human interface as well as the technical interface elements needed in achieving these... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dinesh Bhatia
An absolutely beautiful hard-cover of Gregory Heisler's work.Published 4 months ago by Marc Godinez
For a portrait photographer, this is a book to be savored and enjoyed for the writing as well as the gorgeous images. This was a gift from me to me. Read morePublished 5 months ago by alsomama