If photography books were rated by how relaxed, natural, and open the models are, this book would be a five star book. Many of these images have not been published or shown before.
Before going further, be aware that this book contains many tasteful female nudes and one male nude. If this book were a motion picture, it would probably have an "R" rating.
The book has two serious flaws. First, many of the two-page spreads are devastated by the center crease of the binding. The images should be been skipped or reproduced differently. Second, many of the images are vapid. Whenever Mr. D'Orazio moves away from doing a female nude in motion or with a prop, there's often not much there.
The best of the book is outstanding, and if you overlook the spoiled and uninspiring images, you will be very pleased. Mr. D'Orazio at his best has good talent in composition and use of shadows that make his work much more interesting. When he models work with a prop, whether a cigarette or something more substantial like an easel or a skull, magical things usually happen. The book uses a very fine quality matte paper that reproduces the subtle shadings well.
His unadorned and propless female nudes are a tour de force in one sense. He shows you something you haven't seen before in these people (most of whom are celebrities). Few photographers can accomplish so much with so little, but the viewer (unless totally addicted to the celebrity) wants a bit more.
I found Mr. D'Orazio's portraits of men and humanless scenes much less rewarding. Julian Schnabel and Mike Tyson were the exceptions. He captured something there that was quite remarkable.
As Mr. Yau says in his brief essay, "His subjects seem to have stopped for a moment, relaxed and let down their guard." "Some have even transformed themselves into someone unexpected . . . ." For example, you will see a different side of Julia Roberts. "The men . . . project their image of masculinity . . . ." "All of this D'Orazio captures with a painter's eye . . . ." I disagree with that last comment. The images seem to me to be much more sculptural than painterly, and that is to the good.
Here are my favorites:
Kristen McMenamy, 1986, Shelter Island, New York
Eva Herzigova, 1996, Long Island, New York
Sofia Loren, 1999, Milano, Italy
Julia Roberts, 1996, Culver City, California
Frederique, 1996, St. Barth's
Suzanne Lanza, 1986, Peconic Lodge, Shelter Island, New York
Eva Amurri, 1999, New York City (this is quite remarkable and appears on the back of the book's dust jacket)
Mike Tyson (the second one), 1996, Las Vegas, Nevada
Sylvester Stallone, 1996, New York City
Claudia Schiffer, 2000, London
Eva Amurri and Susan Sarandon, 1999, New York City
Polly Mellen and Leilani, 1992, New York City
Kate Moss, 1995, Glen Cove, New York
Julian Schnabel, 1990, (paint splattered with canvas and easel), Montauk, New York
Courtney Love, 1999, Los Angeles, California
Stella Schnabel with Skull, 1999, New York City
Drew Barrymore, 1993, Hollywood, California
After you enjoy this book, I suggest that you think about what the book teaches about relaxation. When do you drop your "social mask" to be relaxed and experience yourself more fully? Those who are most relaxed here, look most alive. How can you achieve this more often and benefit from it?
Take off your cares and worries!