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Photographer Mary Allen – discovering the human face

This week in the studio… The photography team had a chat about upcoming exhibitions and book releases by photographers that we would like to see and thought it might make for a good blog, in order to better understand what floats the boats of the Photographers and Assistants at Headshot London.

As Head of Photography, I was going to kick the project off with a book that has been released in the US but as yet not in the UK… frustratingly. I am however determined to see if I can get a copy in the next couple of weeks so that I can share it with you.

In the meantime, it got me thinking about the books that i already have and made me look back further into the studio books to find something which is really as contemporary today as it was in the year that I was born… 1973! Yep, 41 years ago.

The images above are a sample of some of the images in the book by Mary Allen AIIP, FRPS; ‘Portrait Photography, how and why’. Published by Focal Press.

The scanned photographs above show how she discovers the human face through the medium of light and how the camera angles influence the structure of the face. It’s really what I do in the studio today and perhaps one or two of the images above can be compared to a picture I shot of Yana and one shot by Elena of me.

yana_small david_locke

It really is a great reminder of how the principles of lighting for photography are unchanged and though the technology has made it easier for young photographers to get involved, the understanding and foundation on which a career must be built are still required.

In closing, I would like to say to the young photographers out there looking for expensive zeitgeist books by modern photographers using modern methods. Some of the ephemeral publications out there can be very expensive and in reality there is no need to reinvent the wheel… instead, save your money and go hunt through charity shops on the high street. You’ll find all sorts of wonderful old books on lighting and posing for photography. I still do that here and there when I am passing by.

David Locke