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Photographs by Lili Almog
Introduction by Dr. Mark Gisbourne
Photo Essay / Religion / Monograph
Hardcover, 9.25 x 10.25 inches, 128 pages, 72 four-color photographs
Over the last two years, Lili Almog has made extensive visits to nuns in three different Carmelite monasteries—one in Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel, where the order was founded and assumed its name in the year 1200; the first Carmelite monastery in the United States, in Port Tobacco, MD; and one located at the birthplace of Jesus, Bethlehem, Palestine. The result of this work, Perfect Intimacy, is an experience of the cloistered world these nuns live in, and a documentation of their state of mind, relationship with God, and spiritual identity. It is a continuation of Almog’s ongoing attempt to explore women and their private spaces.
Almog’s empathetic and poignant studies capture the individuality of her subjects, their enduring dignity, and their sense of self-worth—which belies the collective conformity of monastic life. The economy of style in Almog’s photographic composition, a limited color palette, and an emphasis on just a few pictorial components correspond aptly with the chaste and austere way of life in the monastery. Almog’s portraits achieve an emblematic quality, reverberating with and alluding to the intensity found in abundance in religious iconography. Perfect Intimacy offers an unfettered and authentic introduction to a group of women destined to remain anonymous in this peculiar cloistered world.
Lili Almog has exhibited her work internationally for over ten years. She has had solo shows at such venues as Ffotogallery, UK; the Prague House of Photography, Czech Republic; Galleri Image, Denmark; The Center for Photography at Woodstock, New York; and has been included in many group shows. Almog’s photographs have appeared in New York, Fotograf, The Miami Herald, The Boston Globe, Vogue Australia, and several books. They are included in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, UK; Norton Museum of Art, Florida; Musée de la Photographie, Belgium; and the
Herzliya Museum of Art, Israel.
British writer and art historian Dr. Mark Gisbourne is the former international vice president of the International Association of Art Critics (AICA). He has taught at universities throughout England, including the Courtauld Institute of Art, The Slade School of Fine Art, and the Sotheby’s Institute. Gisbourne’s writing has been included in publications by institutions such as the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid; Whitechapel Art Gallery, London; and the Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris. He has also written for magazines and newspapers, including The Independent, The Art Newspaper, Artforum, and Art in America.