April 10, 2022

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

Photo by Judith Joy RossPhoto by Judith Joy Ross

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 McNallyPhoto by Joe McNally

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 RossPhoto by Judith Joy Ross

Photo by Judith Joy Ross

Photo by Judith Joy RossPhoto by Judith Joy Ross

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


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