Photography Book Review: Theatre of Life, by Alex Frayne

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Photographer and film maker Alex Frayne has released a celebration of the everyman in a collection of portraits that feature, predominantly, ordinary people off the streets of Adelaide and regional South Australia.

Presented as a large, soft cover display book, approximately 30x41cm, this beautiful collection finds life and fascination in the ordinary. Some portraits are posed but most are captured as people go about their normal lives.

With the exception of a few well-known faces, including Michael Abbott QC, Pauline Hanson and Peter Goers, there are none of the usual gimmicks focusing on breathtaking models or high fashion. Frayne’s work is down to earth and real. These are people and scenes we see every day without noticing, yet they are scenes which steal our attention when captured with such fine focus.

Frayne has taken most images on either 35mm or 6×6 roll film, giving the collection a modern yet retro feel. From an initial 400 images, Nick Phillips has curated Frayne’s vision down to almost 80 pages, each containing large or full-page photos in either colour or black and white. The variety is effective.

Every image is accompanied by words to explain the photo, the process or the model, with just a couple of exceptions where Frayne has used another’s words.

Theatre of Life is about people, not places, although the places in the photographs often add to the character being seen. The human focus, peaking into the daily lives of the subjects, makes this collection relatable and fascinating, not just to lovers of fine photography.

Reviewed by Rod Lewis
Twitter: @StrtegicRetweet

Rating out of 10:  9

Distributed by: Wakefield Press
Release Date: 2017
RRP: $50

90%
90%
Fascinating

Theatre of Life is about people, not places, although the places in the photographs often add to the character being seen. The human focus, peaking into the daily lives of the subjects, makes this collection relatable and fascinating, not just to lovers of fine photography.

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About Author

Rod Lewis is Glam Adelaide’s Books & Literature Editor and has previously led the arts, film and television portfolios. He has been a professional Arts critic for more than 30 years. To get in touch, contact [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @StrtegicRetweet

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