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

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.

/2022/the-kinds-of-portraits-i-prefer/McnallyPortrait.png
Photo 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...

/2022/the-kinds-of-portraits-i-prefer/JudithJoyRossPortrait.png
Photo by Judith Joy Ross
/2022/the-kinds-of-portraits-i-prefer/JudithJoyRossPortrait2.png
Photo by Judith Joy Ross
/2022/the-kinds-of-portraits-i-prefer/JudithJoyRossPortrait3.png
Photo by Judith Joy Ross

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