4 out of 4 stars
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One of a Kind is a collection of portraiture by the American photographer Donald Graham. The collection includes numerous black-and-white photographs taken by the photographer during his decades-long career. The portraiture includes all types of individuals and spans continents. Portraits of celebrities, political figures, and everyday people hailing from New York, Taos, Morocco, Jamaica, Tibet, India, and Europe, among others, can be found in this deeply expressive portraiture collection.
Each photograph in One of a Kind tells an intimate story. The facial expressions, poses, choice of clothing, and selective backgrounds work together to form fully fleshed-out images that highlight a sense of agency in each subject. Further, Graham’s artistry aptly showcases the unique humanity of each individual. From iconic figures to anonymous people, the portraiture is interesting, thought-provoking, and captures the essence, personality, and identity of each individual. I was simply blown away by the evocative portraits in One of a Kind.
Moreover, the physical presentation of the book is exquisite. The black-and-white photographs are printed on high-quality paper and compiled in a thick, aesthetically pleasing binding. Unboxing this item felt like a special treat: the craftsmanship of the binding, the precision of the printing, and the thoughtful order of the photographs were all immediately apparent. Further, the weight of the book complements the heaviness found in the individual photographs. One of a Kind could be beautifully displayed on any coffee table.
There is so much to love about the artwork found in One of a Kind. In addition to the portraits, the titles also proved interesting. Some subjects are identified by their full name, others by only a first name, and some individuals are not named at all, rather they are identified by their occupation or a physical identifier coupled with a location, such as “Girl with Closed Eyes, Dakar, Senegal”. Additionally, an index at the back of the book includes brief details about each of the photographs. However, I would have liked the photographer to include dates. The collection spans thirty years of photography, and although the images are timeless, the addition of the dates of each portrait could have added context to the subjects’ stories.
One of a Kind truly is a one-of-a-kind experience. Digesting Graham’s portraiture proved to be an engaging and enlightening journey. There was nothing to dislike about this book, and I noticed no grammatical errors in the text. I highly recommend this collection to readers who enjoy art, especially photography and portraiture, and to readers who are interested in a beautiful physical book to display in their home. One of a Kind earns a strong 4 out of 4 stars.
One Of A Kind
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