Tuesday, 3 July 2018

My Book Review for Reportage Illustration - Visual Journalism by Gary Embury & Marcelo Minichiello

Imprint:Bloomsbury Visual Arts
Illustrations:200 colour illustration 

Gary Embury and Mario Minichiello have produced a book that works for me and this is why:

It reminds me of my own experience of producing reportage drawing during trips to Barbados, Barcelona, the Greek Islands and New York that is strongly backed up by the editorial tone of this book.

It contains some excellent case studies on artists who know how to capture the live scene. These artists are working across the globe and finding fascinating projects to engage with.

The many interviews attempt to discover the secrets of this skill and explain time and again that preparation is everything. Efficiency in planning is the most important thing we need to consider.

I have seen that Bloomsbury Visual Arts and Bloomsbury Academic books can be weak in page layout and the design front but this time they get it right. I commend them on this and urge them to continue in this vein. This book features some stunning examples of reportage work and the captions help build on the overall message. For me the highlights of this book come through the words and work of Olivier Kugler, Lucinda Rogers, Anne Howeson, Jenny Soep, George Butler and Sue Coe.

This book presents an effective guide to visual journalism. Contextualisation is something that we work hard to help our students to understand so they are able to create useful and original conceptual and practical outcomes. This book gives us a history and evolution of the subject and it respects illustration as an important part of our culture and appreciates that it is at the heart of visual communication.

I really like the reportage exercises in the book and I will soon use these with my illustration and visual media students. It also reminded me of the importance of direct observation drawing. This is a skill that takes focused concentration and application to achieve credible results.

This book makes clear the strong case for when observed drawing is superior to photography, cinematography and written journalism.

This book will be useful for academics and those who understand the reason for ‘dirtying the paper.’ It also explores the meaning of image making through the use of historical and contemporary examples. Reportage is an enterprise that has remained relevant and important despite the preponderance of 24/7 news (fake or otherwise) and our changing social interactions. So, go on location, start drawing and count how many people interact with you. They usually talk about their own lapsed drawing practice. I say take every opportunity that you can to get people talking about the making of art.

Karl Foster Monday 26 March 2018

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