Nudes & Glamour

by John Hedgecoe, reviewed by Philip Greenspun; created 1998

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John Hedgecoe's Workbook of Nudes & Glamour by John Hedgecoe, 1985 Mitchell Beazley. ISBN 0-85533-943-8. 192 pages. Out of print, but you can order Hedgecoe's latest nudes book from .

Lake Powell The first 65 pages of this book contain general photographic advice with nudes as examples. If you are an experienced photographer, you won't find too much new here. The rest of the book has a bit of a tough time deciding whether or not to be about glamour photography, a very commercial form, or nudes, a very noncommercial form.

For example, there are a lot of pages devoted to the benefits of over-the-shoulder poses and such. This can be very useful if you've been hired to make someone look good but isn't very on point if you are trying to create abstract art. Two pages devoted to makeup aren't worth much if you've decided to suppress the face and focus on the body as structure. Still, you have to admire the literally hundreds of how-to drawings and example photos crammed into this vest-pocket size book.

As far as I'm concerned, the meat of the book is about 60 pages of instructions and ideas for nude and glamour photography in a variety of setting. Advice is sensible, e.g., beginners should use daylight, with reflectors, and fast film rather than struggling with artificial light. Examples range from illustrative to inspiring.

In the end, the book is probably worth the price and weight (if you are going to keep it in your camera bag, which is clearly what the designers had in mind).

[Note: I have some capsule reviews of books of nude photography in my Nudes tutorial.]

Text and photos copyright 1991-1998 Philip Greenspun.