I saw this new one on Amazon sometime ago, but didn’t order it since I wasn’t thrilled with Silvereye. But then I ran into this in a bookstore, and WOW! I was, and remain, totally blown away… this is one of the best color photo books ever produced, I’m certain of that, and in my mind there is no doubt that it is the BEST color photo book of the 2000s.
Leaving aside the excellent photography for a minute, the production quality of this book is amazing. This is best produced nude art book I’ve ever bought, and must be one of the best ever made. Certainly, it’s the best I’ve ever seen from this publisher. It is huge. It is heavy. The printing is perfection, and paper is super excellent grade, and this book is meant to last and last. Really, it would still be a fair deal at twice the listed price. With the current price + the Amazon discounting it’s an absolute steal and puts to shame the poor quality garbage many other publishing houses are printing and selling at similar prices. This isn’t a cheap book, either in price or in quality, and TeNeues deserves a big thumbs up for producing this wonderful work.
Now onto the photography itself… there is a level of intimacy captured here that is something many other photographers strive and usually fail to achieve. The work, technically, is beyond excellent. And yet, it somehow stays simple. There isn’t the dramatic lighting (usually) that you might find with Bruno Bisang, for instance, but the mastery of composition, of angle of view, of knowing just when was the right moment to fire the shutter… it’s all there. There are hordes of photographers shooting color nudes nowadays that do it super “clean”, fast & loose, trying to “keep it real” and make art out of the simplicity of the girl’s body and her surroundings. For the most part, they fail (in my opinion). Some books by Peter Gorman and Peter Hegre would fit into this category. What Mr. Argentini has done here is take that very concept, but actually succeed: there are no elaborate props (aside from some pretty rooms), no extravagant lighting set ups, no “special effects” done to the photos in Photoshop afterward. It’s just him, his considerable talent, his camera, a beautiful girl, and her genuine magnetism that pulls you into his simple compositions, and envelopes you with intimacy. THIS is the feel and passion all these other photographers are trying to accomplish with their simple “real girl, in the real world” approach. So many are trying, but it is Guido Argentini who is successful.
I cannot believe that anyone who buys this book will regret it. The images are, at times, a bit more erotic that in the books of some of his peers, but they are without question Art and Mr. Argentini is a true Artist.
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