A Moment. Master Photographers: Portraits by Michael Somoroff.
These black-and-white studio portraits by Somoroff provide an intimate study of some important photographers from the mid-20th century. The photographers are of a particular milieu and aesthetic, and Somoroff's skillful portraiture suggests a piousness as much for that moment in time as for the individual artists. They are European and American fashion photographers, documentarians of daily life, and photojournalists, all helping in their own way to earn photography its place in the fine art world. Somoroff elegiacally approaches this historical moment, which he defines by analogue work and studio craft, both celebrating and mourning a time when "we invested ourselves more faithfully in the process of things." He recollects immersing himself in his father's studio as a child and continuing a lineage of classical style and technique gifted to him by the community featured within the book. The reverence of the portraiture often relies on an idealized familiarity with and respect for the subjects. However, the enthusiasm of a young artist fortunate enough to capture images of his heroes is at times enchanting, while portraits of Mary Ellen Mark and Helmut Newton are treats, offering a sincere and personal glimpse both of the photographers themselves and of Somoroff's enduring awe. Color and b&w illus. (Oct)