Photography studio, gallery and training complex

Amazing Men – For A Quid?

I felt it would be unfair of me not to share this little discovery with you.

One of my many addictions (and you may have read about some of the others right here) is photography books. I use them for teaching, for research, and for general inspiration. I’d planned for this post to be about a book which I acquired as part of a donated cache of photography book gold-dust a few months ago – and then I went to Poundland – in Dudley.

I’ve found a few good (and not so good) photography books in Dudley’s Poundland store in the past so I always look through the book section. Today I found “Amazing Men: Courage Insight Endurance” by Joyce Tenneson – a monograph stuffed with monochrome portraits of men aged from sixty to a hundred years old. The cover shows a shirtless Ben Kingsley and the books pages include portraits of the famous (Harold Pinter, Patrick Stewart, Bill Cosby, James Earl Jones) to the unknown, but nonetheless image-worthy.

Tenneson’s approach is an apparent mixture of Irving Penn’s “tent” images and Annie Leibowitz’s best known work. In fact, it seems Tenneson and Leibowitz have both photographed some of the same men. One review I read of Tenneson’s work described her images as “luminous portraits” – while others might describe them as simply over-exposed. I’m being a little flippant but there is a definite glow to these images, bordering on “soft focus”.

This book is, I discovered, a follow-up to “Wise Women“, which appears to have been rather successful. Copies of “Wise Women” are currently listed on Amazon at £15+ whereas “Amazing Men” is listed at between one penny and £9.99. Mine set me back 95p (as is everything at Poundland at the moment).

I confess I’ve never heard of Joyce Tenneson but she is described as being “one of the ten most influential women photographers in the history of photography” by American Photo. Perhaps I should have heard of her.

Some of these images look a bit strange around the eyes, as if the whites have been painted in, and there’s a strange compulsion to photograph these elderly gents naked from the waste up, but that’s my only real concern. Otherwise, this is a really nice book of portraits with an interesting mixture of subjects coupled with insightful quotes from the subjects themselves.

So I’d recommend you head to Dudley (like you need an excuse) and snap up one if these nice little books. Failing that, there’s always Amazon –





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