Focus: Found Faces [Book Review]

Focus: Found Faces [Book Review]

Focus - Found Faces 1.jpg

Next to pop-up books I like cut-out books… you know, the ones that have little holes cut into their covers and end pages. Oh and I don’t mind if the price is attractive as well.

Like this one!

This compact book is 19cm square; too large for the back pocket but just right for a backpack. It’s short on words but big on pictures, 245 of ’em, some full page, others two to a page.

Ninety photographers from 26 countries contributed to the book.

The premise is to encourage you to venture out in the big city or the great outdoors with ‘hungry eyes’, searching for picture opportunities “hunting snapshots of beauty, intrigue, or surprise amid the ordinary fodder of the everyday?”

Focus - Found Faces 2.jpg

Faces can appear in the most unexpected places: warehouse windows stare back at us with a grin; electrical outlets glare with a robotic expression; a road grader on a low loader has a determined expression, the visage composed of its tyres and cabin windows;
The book points out that humans are hard-wired to recognise patterns in everything: one of the reasons soldiers wear makeup is to break up the lines of their faces.

The faces are overwhelmingly derived from found objects: a blast furnace, garage door, bathroom basin, etc. Apart from shots of rock falls, a leaf, a tenement wall, very few are taken directly from nature, like cloudy skies etc. An opportunity for you?

Focus - Found Faces 3.jpg

One of my favourite pictures is that taken by Mattia Mionetto of a near-empty beer glass as the photographer recognised the face of Jack Skellington (1993 movie Nightmare Before Xmas) emerging from the foam of his beer. You can find faces everywhere!

The book is good fun and a wonderful jolter to encourage some imaginative image capture.

Senior Editor: N McConville.
Publisher: Lark Books.
Length: 180 pages.
ISBN: 978 1 60059 792 3.
Price: Get a price on Focus: Found Faces: Your World, Your Images at Amazon where it is currently 31% off.

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Barrie Smith is an experienced writer/photographer currently published in Australian Macworld, Auscam and other magazines in Australia and overseas.

Some Older Comments

  • Patrick Dinneen June 17, 2011 01:31 am

    I have about 4 or 5 pictures in the book and got sent a free copy. I can say it's a nice, happy, light coffee table book.

  • Marco Fiori June 14, 2011 08:24 am

    Light hearted fun. Love it.

  • THE aSTIG @ June 13, 2011 05:12 pm

    I do car photography for my website

    When shooting cars, I often find myself looking at their frontal view as if they were faces. Especially the late model Mazda designs which look as if they're smiling! Call me crazy but when I see one on the road, I find myself smiling back! LOL!

  • ScottC June 13, 2011 02:25 pm

    An interesting subject to look for, though I still prefer real faces over the inanimate ones.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck June 13, 2011 07:49 am

    And a few more now that I come to think of it!

    This one reminded of Johnny 5!

  • Erik Kerstenbeck June 13, 2011 07:48 am


    This is such a great topic for a book! I guess one has to train one's eye to start looking for faces in ordinardy things. Here a cool one I found in New Zealand geothermal mud pools!

  • Erik Kerstenbeck June 13, 2011 07:17 am


    This looks like a really awesome book - finding faces in ordinary things takes a bit of hunting but they are everywhere.... here are some I found:

    This one reminded of Johnny 5!

  • Chio June 13, 2011 07:07 am

    Hah, what an excellent combination of photographs, they are all interesting. Gonna open my eyes even wider now to look for faces.