This book purports to teach something of the art of lighting for studio portrait photography, but in fact it is a collection of images of the most debauched of humanity, masquerading as ordinary folk.
For example, the gentleman in the picture shown is, I believe, lost in a reverie of young girls unrolling silk stockings from their untouched white legs. Or it may be that he is looking forward to collecting his weekly blackmail money from a homosexual schoolmaster. Perhaps he is a bank manager, about to foreclose a loan and ruin the local grocer, unless the hapless victim gives over his wife and daughters? In any case he is evidently an utter scoundrel, as anyone may see.
The true art of portraiture is the revelation of the inner nature of the subject: Mr. Towles shows himself a master of this art in his merciless stripping away of his subjects' pretence of humanity, leaving only their inner beastliness. I would not recommend this book for those who are delicate of sensibility, and it most definitely should be kept away from servants and children, but for those of adult years and tastes it may provide the sort of spice that a jaded palate requires.
|Demon child||Sacrificial virgin||Patriarch of family of cannibals||Vampire|