“From the beginning of time, I often imagined that most artists and later photographers, had somewhere, a stash of nudes. The exposed human form is too provocative and lyrical not to address visually in all its uncovered power and vulnerability. When I as a young person studying art, I was perplexed about the overwhelming quantity of female nudes versus males.
This both puzzled me and incited me at once, so when I first dove into photography I embarked on a project of nudes that naturally included males as well as females. I enlisted friends, lovers, students anyone that would be willing to be in my photographs.”
Spirit in Form includes 52 previously unpublished black and white, sepia toned and hand-colored images. spanning more than three decades, from 1968 to 2002. The photographs are of male and female nudes with a signature of sensual poems appearing in the center of the book.
Designed in a compact 8.5″ x 8.5” hard cover volume, this perfect “end table book” includes notes and experiences of the photographer.
This is a collector’s gem; the first in a series of volumes of the artist’s life with a camera.
Gail Russell’s ‘Spirit in Form’
Spirit in Form – the human form in nature and other places” is a lush compilation of Russell’s photography and poetry, sensuous in both imagery and words and worthy of the wait …
Spirit in Form follows Russell’s earliest photographic studies and includes previously unpublished black and white sepia toned and hand colored images of male and female nudes. Her signature original poetry, full of longing and guileless reflection, appears in the center of the book, a foil for both the appreciation of beauty she captured in her subjects and the layers of emotion and connection each invoked.
— DENA MILLER
Tempo, Taos News
December 9, 2021
Spirit in Form is fascinating and eclectic and for me, a lot of fun. Many images are unexpected and quite surreal. When it comes to approaching the human body, I was often struck by Russell’s originality. I so enjoyed a great portrait of a tiny, scarcely visible, but obviously joyful woman almost lost among the massive trunks of enormous redwood trees. That image alone bellows a wonderful “Hallelujah!” to our lives on this Earth.
Gail Russell has created an imaginative, curious and lovely book filled with her gentle poetry and many enchanting visual surprises.
— JOHN NICHOLS
Author, The Milagro Beanfield War, The Sterile Cuckoo, Good Bye Monique, and others
“To see my soul / go back to its house,” Gail Russell tells us. Spirit in Form provides an intimate experience of such a house. Joyful, sensual, of nature, while containing the necessary descents and shadows in a life.
“I send / a / bird,” she says. Looking at these images I feel, as though close by, the flutter of that bird’s wings.
— SAWNIE MORRIS
Inaugural Poet Laureate of Taos, author of the poetry collection Her, Infinite (New Issues Press)
Gail Russell is a mystic of photography. Her images knock on the door of the heart and it flies open, inviting us into a realm both mysterious and welcoming. This collection is a treasure.
— MIRABAI STARR
Award-winning author of many books including Wild Mercy: Living the Fierce and Tender Wisdom
of the Women Mystics, teacher, and speaker on sacred literature, contemplative practice and interspiritual dialog
I’ve been an inspired fan of Gail Russell’s work for over 20 years. Spirit in Form, a collaboration of Gail’s soul, spirit, technical proficiency, and heart-centered imagination creates a beautiful marriage of word and image.
Her poetry alone is quite enough to stir the love and longing that resides deep within. Her exquisite imagery invites us to linger, to use our imagination to feel, hear, smell, and taste the subtle sweetness in every image. The combination of these two worlds she’s created and seldom seen by most, is at the very least, captivating and at its best transcending! Spirit is alive and well and serenely palpable in both the male and female forms. How could we not want to join Gail as she revisits and reveals these sublime, creative, loving moments of her past?
I, for one, would go on this journey with her time and time again!
— LENNY FOSTER
Fine Art Photographer, author of Healing Hands: Embodied Spirit & Light in Photography and Prose and
Enchanted Land: A Taos Twenty-Year Retrospective