This is a fantastic book for anyone who's interested in lighting techniques and re-creating the Hollywood looks from the 1920's to the 1950's.
I have to say that I'm not into taking portrait photographs at the moment, especially anything with off-camera lighting, but it is an area of photography that I'd like to develop (groan!). What I really like about this book, is that the photos are large and beautifully reproduced, there's nice accompanying text, and the "how to" diagrams are clear and simple.
All the Hollywood Royalty are here, from John Wayne to Marilyn Monroe, and from Rudolph Valentino to Greta Garbo. All in all there's the analysis of over 50 shots, and a myriad of smaller photographs too. Of course the lighting diagrams are an analysis after the fact - few records remain of the actual shoots - but Roger Hicks and Christopher Nisperos do an admirable job, and I'm sure photographers who are more experienced than me could recreate the styles.
One of the more surprising issues the book brings up is the use of large view cameras with massive tripods and camera stands. Many of the early Hollywood photographs were taken on 8" x 10" film, that's a massive 20.3cm x 25.4 cm! This isn't spur of the moment photography - each set and pose is carefully considered, and many frames were shot to make sure there was always a "keeper".
I really, really, enjoy looking at this book, even if I'm not yet ready to have a go at recreating these Hollywood Photographs - but I will soon, I promise!
What Do You Think?
Should we just be photographing in natural light, or is the use of hot-lights and speed-lights a necessary skill for all photographers? Are we creating fake images, or is the art of "sculpting" with light the highest form of photography? Please add your thoughts below.