FINE ARTS

Great Photographers Meet Great Artists

Laurence King. Sept. 2020. 256p. ISBN 9781786275059. $55. PHOTOG
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Editor Bainbridge (editorial director, 1854 Media; principal editor, British Journal of Photography) assembles portrait sessions taken by members of the renowned Magnum agency of some of the major figures who shaped 20th- and 21st-century visual culture. Extended captions provide background information on each photo sitting. Commissioned for major publications (The Observer Magazine, Stern, Geo, to name a few), or as book projects, the best of these are outstanding reportage. Although the book includes color portraits taken in the last 10 years, the most handsome photos, featuring glossy black-and-white tonalities and classic symmetry, date to the 1940s–1950s. Unfortunately, the title’s brevity skims the surface of a great subject. Omissions will surely frustrate some readers: for example, it often isn’t indicated where the images were first published and how the assignments came about. And some of the page spreads show only one photo, leaving viewers wanting more.
VERDICT This volume presents an engaging concept that should appeal to readers interested both in portrait photography and in the lives of artists. For some, a high-level browse will be all they need. For others, this title will only whet their appetite. They’ll need to go elsewhere to pursue the topic in greater depth.

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