Mid Century Studio Portrait lighting book?

Discussion in 'Book, Magazine, Gallery Reviews & Shows' started by hoffy, Mar 15, 2012.

  1. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Howdy,

    There has been a popular book that pops up from time to time on here in discussion from the mid 20th Century that is on Studio portrait lighting. For the life of me, I cannot remember its name or who the author is.

    Can anyone help with the book name and/or author?

    Cheers
     
  2. BainDarret

    BainDarret Subscriber

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    Joseph Zeltsman?
     
  3. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    william mortensen?
     
  4. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Charles Abel - Professional portrait lightings ?
     
  5. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    I think we have a winner!

    Cheers
     
  6. paul ewins

    paul ewins Subscriber

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    It tends to be somewhat expensive - I paid around $170 for a copy last year.
     
  7. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Yes, I know! There was one on here mid way through last year that went for below $100.....I am trying to seek out alternatives - I did come across this one last night:

    http://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Portraits-Roger-Hicks/dp/0817440208

    Looks to be a modern book trying to explain the techniques. I wonder if anyone has had any experience with this one and if it is worth while?

    Cheers
     
  8. marriaga4eps

    marriaga4eps Member

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    anyone know if the Abel book is in the public domain?
     
  9. paul ewins

    paul ewins Subscriber

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    My reason for buying the Abel book was that it showed examples from specific lenses and the lighting that the photographer used. The Hollywood book seems to be aimed at recreating specific portrait styles, probably with modern equipment (i'm guessing that it won't have a section on retouching 8x10 negatives to soften focus). That might be more useful than the Abel book if that is what you want to do.
     
  10. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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  11. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    I'm also going to assume that its digital based with a section on how to touch up in photoshop...... grrrr

    I am more after getting experience in the lighting setups then the post processing side, but then again that wouldn't be a bad thing to know either!
     
  12. cowanw

    cowanw Member

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    This book was published in 2000, and its authors are two solid film fans. I think it is a good book and helped me think about and deconstruct lighting ever since.
     
  13. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    Cheers for that! Its not that expensive, so it might be a good start.

    Thanks
     
  14. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    Christopher Nisperos is a subscriber here on APUG, and has contibuted lots of helpful and interesting posts.

    Roger Hicks used to do the same.

     
  15. Jim Fitzgerald

    Jim Fitzgerald Member

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    I got the last deal on the bay for this book. The Charles Abel book that is. Now if I could only get it back from my friend and fellow carbon printer Tri I'd be happy! Great book not only for the images but all of the info that is included.
     
  16. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Hoffy. I picked up a book - "Leading Ladies" (I think) that has portraits from the silent era right up until the late 80s (was a while ago that I picked it up!)

    Whilst it doesn't show the actual lighting setups, it's a great book to see how the photographers of the day lit their subjects - and all for a measly $5.00 from KMart.

    They had a second to that - "Leading Men" - never had the chance to get it, but was identical in format from memory, except for the subjects.
     
  17. sfairman

    sfairman Member

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    Order the Abel book through inter-library loan. It has maybe a hundred portrait setups contributed from portrait photographers throughout the country living outside NYC and LA. The lighting is not as contrasty and dramatic as Hollywood Portraits, and soft lens are sometimes used as well. Flourescents are often used as fill light to protect the paying customers. It's geared for 8x10 and sometimes 4x5. The lighting diagrams refer to the actual product names, so lots of references to Mazdas and No. 2 photofloods.

    I've been ordering these books for the past several years. The best book on the overall topic of portraiture is Fred Archer on Portraiture, Fred Archer, Camera Craft, 1954. It is the one book you need.

    Kodak's Professional Portrait Techniques (O-4) has a short but useful chapter on lighting.

    William Mortensen wrote Pictorial Lighting, Camera Craft, 1947. Mortensen's lighting is usually very basic and somewhat flat and does not have the look of the books above. Mortensen would advise you to make due with 2 12-inch photofloods-- lighting was not his primary interest. Mortensen is always a fun read. Much of his points about local contrast are valid, much of his other points may or may not apply when using modern films, and some of his controversies are rebutted or mildly redirected in the Archer book if you read it closely. Mortensen's primary book was Mortensen on the Negative, Simon and Shuster, 1940.

    If you go trolling for further amateur-intended portrait books, there are others of lesser value that can fill up a shelf, that have some figures, including Modern Portraiture, Stanley R Jordan Camera Craft 1938, Portrait Lighting by Daylight and Artificial Light, American Photographic Publishing, 1935.
     
  18. CGW

    CGW Restricted Access

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    It's less a cookbook than an annotated dissection of lighting set-ups and period "looks." It's affordable and unique for suggesting how to use modern gear for retro style portraits.