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Elementals: Deborah Samuel

“There are no forms in nature. Nature is a vast, chaotic collection of shapes. You, as an artist, create configurations out of chaos. You make a formal statement where there was none, to begin with. All art is a combination of an external event and an internal event.” —Ansel Adams 

I am excited and pleased to share with you that my mentor and friend, Deborah Samuel, has a new book out this fall, her fourth book, entitled, Elementals, which encapsulates a ten year journey and exploration, using iPhone technology to capture her imagery, in an endeavor to find home.

A decade of travel from Africa to the United States and Canada to mysterious Ireland gave rise to Elementals, an intimate look at our world’s fundamental gravity. It is also a reflection on the wonders of life’s fragility, transience, and persistence of beauty.

“Over time, Elementals became a free-form poem to the enduring beauty of the elements everywhere – earth, air, fire, and water and the transforming power of light. It is an ode to the solitude of wide-open spaces, the fluidity of shifting winds, and the monsoons’ breathtaking phenomena — environmental, atmospheric, and climatic. These elements are not just material substances. They are fundamental spiritual essences, bringing meaning and illumination to life.” —Deborah Samuel 

After ten years, Samuel did indeed find home — everywhere. Elementals’ photographs are Samuel’s tangible memory of something too precious to ignore and too perfect to forget. 

“Only Nature can inspire this kind of awe and reverence when we allow our eyes to open. Samuel has a distinct sense of capturing this radical truth in all her evocative photographs. In every image, she presents a facet of the profound beauty that inspired our ancestors and reminded them of the great living divinity – the wonder of oneness in every aspect of life. She reminds us of the true power of what our hearts beat for – to discover purpose and meaning, witness spirit everywhere, and know the continuity of the cosmos. Through her lens, we’re invited to see that beauty is all around us, and in an increasingly uncertain world, to know hope is alive and calling us home.” —Colette Baron Reid

“The prints of the images in Elementals are magical. Viewing them is a visceral experience beyond an appreciation of a photographic image or its subject. Somewhere in the genes of these images is Ansel Adams. He lurks there as the classical and majestic now combined with colors so lush, a sensuality that verges on the extravagant but pulled just back, so one has the thrill of being on the edge of excess. However, there is something else, and its existence begins to explain why we’re staring at the image long after our own sunset snapshot has ceased to intrigue. Samuel’s photographs instruct — that we all share a mystical connection to nature, pantheistic perhaps, and this longing apparent because we’re always photographing, painting, or otherwise enthralled by it. Samuel’s photographs of nature are of us.” —Kelvin Brown

Shared below are a few of the beautiful images contained in Samuel’s new book, Elementals. I have my copy of this beautiful book, which I love. To order Elementals, visit here. To view more of Samuel’s work, visit her website here.

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