When I first received this book in the mail, I was quite impressed with its quality. There are several models featured in the book, the lighting in the photographs is inoffensive, and the pages are beautifully printed. I soon discovered, however, that the book itself would be of little use to me.
While the book initially appears to provide an abundance of photographic material and a variety of models, a few flip-throughs will reveal that many of the poses and models are incredibly similar. It focuses mostly on the female figure and provides female models who, but for one, appear to be young, slender (but not athletic), and white. They are all heavily made-up, they have no visible body hair and their genitals (while intact on the DVD) are nonexistant in the printed images: they have been airbrushed out. I find this choice particularly offensive considering that the male models did not receive the same treatment, nor do they adhere to the same idealistic standards. The one female model who is an exception to being thin is also not white: though she is a beautiful and capable model, I feel it is unfortunate that she alone bears the burden of "otherness". Although the average western (American) dress size for women is size 14, and the majority of people in the world are non-white, there is only one model out of nine that reflects this reality.
Variety is not just lacking in the bodies of female models, it is also absent in their poses. The poses are, for the most part, very passive, static, and inactive. Although there are a few dynamic poses, the majority of them are constructed and trite, showing little or no tension in the muscle or weight in the form. This is an important matter to consider, since much of the DVD is comprised of different angles of the same pictures represented in the book. If you are looking for stiff, formulated and "feminine" poses, you will be no doubt satisfied.
The two male models featured in the book provide better material. they are different than one another, in age and athleticism, although they are both still white. Their poses range from active to passive, the more graceful ones reminiscent of Greek and Roman statues.
One of the biggest disappointments for me was the discovery that the lighting in the images doesn't appear to differ in any way, from one model to another. It is an all-over, seemingly directionless light, hardly useful to the artist in my opinion. It is so bright that there are few form shadows to be found on the models, and little contrast.
The images on the DVD-ROM are generously large, but strangely lacking in texture. I don't know if this is due to the way the lighting was set up for the photographs, or if the models were "touched up", but their skin looks flat and plastic. Even when an image is zoomed in on, rarely can there be seen any veins, muscles, wrinkles or pores.
I have not owned many other model reference books, but I have found that my anatomy books in conjunction with internet resources have provided me with more stimulus than this collection of poses. While the print quality exceeds older books of its kind, I do not think the book itself is a great reference. The DVD-ROM is more worthwhile, and the publisher's website provides some nice extras, such as free downloads and contests. If you are interested in purchasing this book, I definitely recommend visiting the site and having a look around - maybe even purchase some of their images available for download to see if you like them.
In conclusion, I think this set will appeal to artists who are new to figure drawing and to hobbyists who have not had much experience rendering the human form. To anyone else, however, it is simply more of the same.