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  1. #1
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    name that old portrait book

    I'm looking for an old portrait book from the 1930s or 1940s I would guess, but it could be later. I had a xeroxed copy years ago 25 years but have no idea where that is now. I'd like to find the book again.

    It was written and illustrated how to pose the subject considering planes and lines of the body and how to correct for situations like a balding gent, male vs. female poses, and so on. Drop the forward shoulder and then turn the head this way or that... Sort of like the Joe Zeltsman website but earlier fashions and monochrome. I've never seen another book quite like it in terms of approach. It was more about posing than lighting. IIRC, there was a H&S shot of an older guy on the cover wearing a wool cap and taken from a high angle.

    I know it wasn''t the following folks since I have their books already:

    Charles Abel
    William Mortenson
    Walter Nurnberg

    I think it may have been a book by Franklin Fraprie or Stanley Jordan from what I can glean off Amazon. If anyone has books by them does my description sound familiar? Could you scan and post the cover or a few pages please? Ditto if it may be someone else.

    Thanks,

    Joe

  2. #2

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    Could you be thinking of O R Croy, The Photographic Portrait?
    I have a 1968 Amphoto version. I see there is a 1975 focal press version.
    Picture of a young girl's face with a short haircut on the front
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

    Regards
    Bill

  3. #3
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    Bill,

    Thanks for the suggestion but it doesn't sound like the one I'm looking for, at least not by the cover. Also, the Croy book is translated from German and I didn't get a sense that the book I'm after was translated. And, it had an earlier feel to it.

    Do you think the Croy book is worthwhile? I see he wrote other books an "Camera Trickery," etc., and that doesn't sound like something the author I'm looking for would be writing. But, it's cheap enough for me to order a copy if you think its worth having.

    Most of the portrait books I've seen seem written in reverse. What I mean by that is the photographer has taken a picture and then decides to do a lighting diagram and discuss some technical aspects (e.g., strobe brand, wattage and gels) briefly after the fact. And there's usually a celebrity or some flashy fashion model involved, haute couture, and affected expression. Sometimes glitter or sequins too.

    Conversely, the book I'm looking for would describe a situation and how to solve a specific problem or problems IIRC. Like, an older gentleman with a broken nose, double chin, overweight, wearing glasses, and balding comes to the studio for a sitting. Instructions would then be proffered to seat him in a chair with shoulders 45 degrees from the lens axis, oriented so when he turns his head towards the camera the broken nose appears straighter. Use that pose and short lighting to minimize his weight, have the forward foot on a slightly raised platform and the other on the floor. With his same side hand on the forward knee have him lean forward to shift his weight to that side with the other hand on his hip. No hairlight and camera from a straight on position, neither raised nor lowered with a scrim to block light from the forehead, and tilt the chin downward slightly. Remove the lenses from the glasses if there is a reflection than cannot be eliminated otherwise. All that kind of stuff anticipating a specific result, not reporting on it after the fact. Know what I mean Vern? That Joe Zeltsman website comes close to the approach of the book I'm after.

  4. #4
    Molli's Avatar
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    Could it be Herbert Williams' 'Portrait Photography' by any chance? I don't have the book, nor can I find an image of the cover online, but it was written in 1937 and the snippet I gleaned from Google Books seemed to fit your criteria. One of the subheadings is "On Posing and Treatment of the Sitter".

    Also found along similar lines is Modern Portraiture from you Mr. Stanley Jordan. The only image I found was an ebay listing for a hardcover copy - no image on the cover, however, it does show a couple of pages from inside:
    Last edited by Molli; 05-21-2012 at 07:39 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  5. #5
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    Found it! Portrait Photography: The Art of Photographing People (The Art & Design Series) by Oscar White
    (ISBN 10: 0136873278 / ISBN 13: 9780136873273 )

    Published in 1983 so my recollection of it is off a bit.

    Thanks Molli. Your post put me on the right track.

    Ebay auction 230776021849 has a picture of the covers.



    Last edited by smieglitz; 05-22-2012 at 01:03 AM. Click to view previous post history.

  6. #6
    Molli's Avatar
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    I'm happy to hear you found it! I did see that listed amongst the book covers I looked at, but a) I was looking for a black and white photo on the cover and b) yep, five decades earlier

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by smieglitz View Post
    Bill,



    Do you think the Croy book is worthwhile? I see he wrote other books an "Camera Trickery," etc., and that doesn't sound like something the author I'm looking for would be writing. But, it's cheap enough for me to order a copy if you think its worth having.
    Sorry I have been away.
    I am sure ther will be a run on White's book now.
    Croy's book has, in the middle of this book, 70 pages on the subject which includes exactly the things you ask about, with a list of defects of each body part and how to idealize or how to emphasize. But what to do with a balding man and protruding eyes for which he has opposite advice?
    There are also pictures by many well known, in the 1950's, photographers including 2 of Karsh's and Andre De Diennes early photo's of Marilyn Monroe, 1945 and 1950.
    "There are a great many things I am in doubt about at the moment, and I should consider myself favoured if you would kindly enlighten me. Signed, Doubtful, off to Canada." (BJP 1914).

    Regards
    Bill

  8. #8
    smieglitz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cowanw View Post
    Sorry I have been away.
    I am sure ther will be a run on White's book now.
    Croy's book has...
    I managed to order a copy of White's book online for $0.05 (plus shipping) and also ordered Croy and a few more related books that I found.

    Then, last night I stumbled upon Henry Peach Robinson's The Studio and What To Do In It as a free download. It has chapters on "Posing and Management of the Sitter," in regard to men, women, children, groups, etc., and looks to be a fine reference based on my brief perusal of it.

    Joe



 

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