Our book review of Wisdom: 50 Unique and Original Portraits in Hardback by Andrew Zuckerman

Title: Wisdom: 50 Unique and Original Portraits

Author: Andrew Zuckerman

ISBN: 0810983729

Publisher: Harry N Abrams

Edition: Hardback

RRP: £30.00

Dimensions: 216 pages, 31.2 x 31.2 x 2.6 cm

Having already brought the photographic world his mesmerising studio portraits of more than 175 species of wild animal in his 2007 offering Creature, Andrew Zuckerman turns his lens upon human subjects for his latest publication.

Of course, this being a Zuckerman creation there’s a twist, the nature of which is hinted at in the title and explained more eloquently within the inner cover blurb: ‘Wisdom’, it proclaims, ‘is inspired by the idea that one of the greatest gifts one generation can give another is the wisdom it has gained from experience.’

Subjects include such luminaries as Clint Eastwood, Nelson Mandela, Vanessa Redgrave, Buzz Aldrin, Henry Kissinger and many more – all of whom, as Zuckerman proudly proclaims, are over 65 years old.

Neatly tucked away inside the back cover is an accompanying DVD, The Wisdom Film, in which the book’s subjects discuss issues central to the concept of wisdom, namely: wisdom itself, work, environment, conflict resolution and love. It’s an engaging and thought-provoking film, full of the very thing the book seeks to address. It’s hard not to come away from each without feeling you’ve ‘got to know’ that particular subject just that little bit better. However, while the book’s grand concept is both worthy and well executed, and the accompanying portraits pin-sharp and technically very proficient, we suspect that many will find the overall visual effect somewhat underwhelming. Take away the fact that the participants are in some way famous or revered, or indeed both, and it’s hard to escape the feeling that you are left with a series of portraits against white backgrounds that don’t say quite as much about their subjects as one might have hoped

 What Digital Camera Rating: 85%