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The kinds of portraits I prefer…Judith Joy Ross, for example

·1 min

I recently read Joe McNally’s book, The Real Deal: Field Notes from the Life of a Working Photographer. While I found his anecdotes occasionally interesting, I didn’t really enjoy the book. I think this was because I don’t much care for McNally’s photographs. Here’s one of his portraits.

Photo by Joe McNally

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There’s no question that McNally is a talented photographer with a powerful work ethic and serious technical skills. His portraits, however, leave me uninspired. You know the style. Creatively lit with a handful of Speedlights, carefully arranged backgrounds or sets, wardrobe and makeup people, etc. The kinds of photos that get a shit ton of likes. This style is not for me.

Now, Judith Joy Ross, on the other hand, makes deeply moving, personal portraits while wandering around with an 8x10 view camera. I wasn’t familiar with her work until recently. I mean, just look at these…

Photo by Judith Joy Ross
Photo by Judith Joy Ross
Photo by Judith Joy Ross

Simply fantastic work. I just ordered her new book: Judith Joy Ross: Photographs 1978–2015.