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Clarence and Laszlo Click in Shoot for New Book
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Help Us Select a Cover Photo
(Representative Responses Posted Below)
Regular visitors will know photographer Laszlo Bencze from his articles on this site, which include “Competing with Extal,” about the drives and inner motivations of average lifters (52, Psychology & Motivation category) and “Overly-Strict Training Is a Motivation Killer,” about strange behavior he’s witnessed in gyms around the world (192, Strength Training).
Laszlo is clearly no ordinary gym rat. He’s been lifting for more than 40 years and takes his training and that of others very seriously. He also has a lifetime of experience behind the camera lens. He takes vibrant, true-to-life, and often breathtaking family and wedding photos (www.laszlophoto.com). He also travels the world taking photos commissioned by national and international companies; you'd recognize most of them by name (www.lbencze.com). Recent assignments have taken him to China, India, Hong Kong, Germany, Austria, England, Mexico, and Dominican Republic.
We knew he would be the perfect photographer for our new book. We were also pretty sure we couldn’t afford him. We were right; we couldn’t. But he came anyway.
Laszlo lived with us for a week and took about 1400 images of just about every aspect of our lifestyle. What he did for us is priceless. Using his unique combination of lifting and fitness savvy and photographic expertise, he took pictures which go beyond anything in our previous books. He captured Clarence (a few months short of 70) in a different style than he has been photographed before, expanding our options for inside the book and especially the cover. We’d like to think that, used properly, these photos will expand the appeal of the new book--and perhaps our other books as well. As always, the new book adds to--but does not replace--the earlier books.
Needless to say, we want to reach as many fitness-minded readers as we can. That’s where we need your help.
The photos below are candidates for the cover of the new book. Look them over and let us know which, if any, you believe would be the best choice for our cover, and why. We have numbered them and added some of the feedback we’ve had so far.
1) Full-body nude in doorway light: We like the unbroken lines of a tasteful nude. Are you offended? Will others be offended?
2) Same pose, slightly less flexed: Some people seem to prefer less flex. What do you think?
3) Upper body, semi-relaxed: Interestingly, some non-bodybuilders are put off by posing trunks, but seem to find a refined nude shot quite acceptable. Why do you think this is? What’s your opinion on posing trunks versus nude? Are you bothered by the hip-replacement scar?
4) Muscular pose in natural light: We liked this shot, but some have told us they are turned off by the posing suit and moderate flexing. What’s your opinion?
5) Classic, side view in natural light: Not enough muscle showing, according to some. Seems we can’t win.
6) Casual pose in doorway: Inviting smile—but not a lot of muscle. Several people told us they liked this one best.
We'd like your opinion. Let us hear from you. Please use the email link below.
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Carol turned the tables on Laszlo and his camera on his last day with us. Checkout that arm.
Please tell us what you think - email@example.com
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Your Comments on Photos
The feedback on the photo candidates for the cover of our new book has been thoughtful, diverse, and wonderful. We'd like to share some of them with you. There are many more--we appreciate them all--but these are representative and give an idea how engaged you have been in helping us make the best possible choice. We won't be able to please everyone, but your input has aided our selection process tremendously. You have delighted, informed, and often surprised us with your insightful thoughts and suggestions. We'll let you know what we decide over the next several months and give you an advance look at our front and back cover prior to publication. (We'll also tell you more about the book.) Thanks to everyone who participated.
Like 'em All
They are all very good, and do a good job of revealing what is probably one of the most remarkable 70-year-old bodies in the world! (Dr. Waneen Spirduso, co-author Physical Dimensions of Aging)
If ever there was a better testimonial to the long term effects of a healthy lifestyle, I have yet to see anything that comes close to those pictures.
The shots are all interesting from an artistic/photographic/physique point of view.
None of the Above
About the Nudes
I'm no prude but I couldn't leave that book out at home (too many questions from kids about "why doesn't that man have any clothes on?")
Keep your clothes on buddy!
I didn’t notice the lack of posing trunks until I read the text. It’s tastefully done.
I’m 64 and if I looked like you, I would never wear clothes!
I like the nude shots, very tasteful. I think this would move the book from bodybuilding to timeless physical culture.
I cannot see how anyone who is interested in the human body/physiology would be offended.
I think nudes are OK but I don't like nudes with the genitals electronically hazed out (electronic castration).
Number 1 reminds me of some of the photos of John
Grimek, Maxick and others from an earlier era. It doesn't offend and is
artfully presented. It may be
the best choice for catching the attention of someone perusing through the book racks at Borders, etc.
The brief cut trunks just plain don't look good on a bodybuilder, they make a champion bodybuilder appear as a stripper.
I don't know how any one could not like the posing trunks. I especially like number four.
Regarding the trunks vs. nude, perhaps today’s “thong” type trunks turn lay people off while actual nude raises the bar to a whole new level of artistic appreciation. I tend to agree with that philosophy because your body along with your philosophy of training and eating and life is so far removed from today’s bodybuilders.
No. 3 and the Scar
I would go for no. 3, as it defines that physical culture comes at a cost (referring to your hip-scar), but with the benefits outweighing the effort.
It is beautifully shot, and somehow seems to be more 'human'. The scar is something that only enhances the shot - and there is a story behind it.
Three is not only tastefully but there is a certain pensive way Clarence is casting his gaze downward and the way the light adds an almost reflective aura/vibe to the mood. The scar is wonderful - adds character and personality and a sense of depth (maybe some vulnerability and a faint brush of mortality) to the energy of the picture.
I looked at that picture the longest. Mainly because of the detail. It truly represents that a body builder is "human" and that things can happen to them just like any "average" person. It just proves that you can have a surgery that involved and still look fabulous. This is by far my favorite nude shot!
Great thoughtful expression, terrific angle and lighting, and great honesty in the imperfections, hip replacement scar et al. Nice composition with the sweep of the arm leading up to the downward cast half-closed eyes. A very peaceful shot lacking pretense. It speaks volumes about you - much more so than the usual 'bodybuilder' poses. If you seek to inspire, this is the shot!
During last night's class on Physical Activity and Aging, I had the students vote on the cover photos for your new book. The results were: #1--0, #2--0, #3--29, #4--1, #5--0, #6--17. Paul S. Miko, PhD, Director, Aging Studies, University of New Mexico
I would use #4 on the cover. There isn't anyone that I've seen who at ~70 looks so terrific....The fact that the photos show you've actually improved from a few years ago is amazing.
Clarence, God bless you......you look absolutely fantastic. No, I'm not turned off with the posing suit. I think the flexing is just perfect.
It continues the strict bodybuilder aesthetic tradition and eschews the artsy stuff.
Speaks of a man that has dedicated his whole life to health, fitness, and excellence. As he stares out into the future and the limited horizon it affords--frailty, diminishment of skills, and greater dependence on others--he stands confident and resolute that the commitment and values that he has practiced in the last seventy years will carry him the rest of the way.
Yes to 5
I like No. 5 the best because it was to me the most natural, showing the best in fitness for a 69 year old male. It looked the least like a forced pose.
I like the artistic quality of this; w/ the art in the background, looks as if he's going to ascend to Heaven at any moment!!
Doorway Pose, Yea and Nay
I have to agree with the people who told you
they like the pose in the doorway best. It's a great shot and when I look at it
it's as if you're warmly inviting me into your home. "Come on in my friend and
I'll tell you everything I know about health, nutrition and training sensibly."
(Many voiced this opinion in one way or another.)
The casual, dressed is too common for my taste. I mean anyone can dress like that but you're the only one who can display a physique such as those shown in the other photographs.
It looks inviting and the pose I would expect a teacher or sage to strike.
Photo 6 looks like a good photo for the back of the book, but not as a cover.
Photo 6 is a nice shot of you, with a pleasant smile. However,
in honesty you don't really look like a bodybuilder. You like any guy
in reasonable shape, nothing more.
#6 may be good, depending on the content of the book and the title...but I feel you are too covered up.
Photo No. 6 epitomizes you . . .to me, although we have never actually met. I think this would be a great shot for the back cover.
No. 7 Laszlo
To order the new book:
Health Fitness Leanness Without Suffering
$24.95 + shipping ($4.60 media or $6.60 priority) Go
Ripped Enterprises, P.O. Box 51236, Albuquerque, New Mexico 87181-1236 or street address: 528 Chama, N.E., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87108, Phone (505) 266-5858, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, FAX: (505) 266-9123. Office hours: Monday-Friday, 8-5, Mountain time. FAX for international orders: Please check with your local phone book and add the following: 505 266-9123
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