Sometimes you struggle with talking eloquently about your book and work, because you embody it, you live and breath it and are too close to it, really. Sometimes when you birth a book, you can barely love it at first, because it has taken everything you’ve got, and more. And then, the responses from others help you understand what you have created, and reveal the inner beauty of your work, even to you. Author Perry Garfinkel send me open letter about his experience of Embody, and wrap it in the loveliest light. Enjoy!
Open Letter to Lone Morch
A year ago you gave me a draft of your book EMBODY and asked me to give it a read for possible PR exposure. I did not read it then. I was still not fully over a hip replacement and had my head in the sand trying to develop and finish my own book proposal, which took until this past June. Not great excuses but the truth. So now, a year later, I went to Book Passage in Larkspur, California, and bought it. I read it slowly over the course of a few weeks, absorbing and marinating in its content and its implications for all Beings striving to Know themselves better…to REALLY know themselves stripped of the baggage and preconceived notions of who and what they should be and look like.
Today, as people begin to think about gifts to buy for the holidays, I want to first of all publically apologize for my delay (and also for that time I confused when we were going to meet and left you stood up) but more to highly recommend your book for this and every season and to congratulate you on a beautifully wrought product. Beautiful not just in its look – the design and your photographs are fabulous – but also in the writing.
Your subject – women’s relationship to their bodies – is of paramount importance, more now than ever in the shadow of continued objectifying of the female form. Your book suggests a triumph over those less-than-social social behaviors.
As much as you artfully expose women’s bodies in your photography, you expose yourself in such a candid way that it disarms even the most guarded and self-protective among us. Together, in page after page of seamlessly interwoven layouts, the words and images transcend gender, transcend the taboo of nudity, even transcend the staid and by now somewhat predictable format of the photograph-driven coffee table book – transcend all things that divide and separate us and lay bare the naked truth of the things that do tie and bind us all together. Men, of which I am one, have a wholly different relationship to their bodies, as you note. But I – and I suspect (or hope) any conscious, reflective and honest man will agree – can identify with your subjects and their coming to terms with their bodies, their flaws and imperfections, their powers and the perfections. In EMBODY, your women embrace themselves and that hug expands to include anyone who reads it.
Your photographic portraits of women – in the woods, in their rooms, in the places where they would feel both comfortable and uncomfortable – are alternately suggestive and specific, elusive and obvious, revealing and concealing. Women do not hide behind the thin veils some of them are dressed in so much as frame themselves in the manner in which they would like to be truly “seen.” The soft focus of some imagines bring into clear focus what matters most: love of Self.
As you suggest, your camera – but more likely YOU ¬– enabled women to open up more than they themselves had thought they were capable of in these settings. I can only imagine the scenes on locations and how long it took you to help them feel that way. Then again, based on the few short hours we spent together that fall afternoon in Tiburon, I reckon it did not take so long at all.
Some of my closest friends are photographers. A few of them – most notably Cary Wolinsky and Mikkel Aaland – have delved into writing words to accompany their magnificent images. It’s hard work, balancing left and right brain. You do it deftly. Your writing reads like it was easy work for you. Of course, only we who write know how difficult it is to make things read that simple.
I salute you for bringing light to the dark secret women keep about their insecurities about their bodies, humbled by visions of the “ideal” woman foisted on them by the media, society at large and society at small. Most men do not realize that even women who may be judged superficially from the surface as pretty, with bodies that do not need Photoshop and air brushing to make them appear “picture perfect,” also harbor these same doubts.
This is a book that will be a treasure for a long time, I predict. As they say in publishing, it will have a very long backlist life. Buy it now. Indeed, buy several now – one for you and one for someone about whom you deeply care, one for someone who will appreciate being seen for their deeper-than-skin beauty, one for a loved one on Valentine’s Day, one for someone who you do not yet know. They will all thank you…as I do now.
With sincere gratitude for your creativity, your vision and your perspicacity to bring this book to fruition for the world to savor and learn from,