Red-Blooded American Male: Photographs

Image of Red-Blooded American Male: Photographs
Release Date: 
September 12, 2016
Amphoto Books
Reviewed by: 

Thank you Robert Trachtenberg for providing this series of portraits that show endless imagination—and for not selecting all the usual suspects as your subjects. The greatest thanks must go to all the subjects who allowed themselves to be photographed with humor, skill, and perhaps a peek into their inner beings. Trachtenberg proves himself a master of conjuring, imagining, and realizing.

The book might be best summed up with this quote from the author who stated “that at this point in our culture, everyone is in on the joke . . . you have to be willing to play a little, because it’s cooler, more endearing, and more enduring if you don’t take yourself too seriously.” Bingo!

Ashamedly, this reviewer had never seen or heard the name Trachtenberg before reading Red-Blooded American Male, but now he has made me a huge fan. Trachtenberg’s wit, skill, and overall mindset are amazingly attractive and endearing. The book is entirely lacking in pretention and even induces laugh out loud reactions to some of the brief texts that accompany each photo. If the reader does not fully engage by reading all of the text they will have missed an immensely memorable experience.

Trachtenberg is open, conversational and forthcoming to the point that you might feel as if he was speaking only to you.

Speaking from a more esthetic point of view, the images themselves are not formulaic as there is no real discernible style other than in your face, and apparently with little to no photo shopping. Without question if you have any appreciation of what it takes to get a model or subject to get the “money shot” this book will resonate with you as well as speak so loudly to the skillset Trachtenberg possesses.

In the end, here is a book that really has nothing to do with its title as the men are not all Americans, but the appeal is for a broad spectrum of readers. If one had to pinpoint a specific focus or audience, it would be for readers who are fine tuned into the entertainment industry whether music, television, film, theater, or sports.

Entertaining? Yes. Enlightening? Yes—and most of all a rare book of the genre.