Book Review: Evolve…a woman’s journey
by Patrick Stull
Stull Visual Arts, 2011
Hardcover, 164 pages, $44.95
Also available as an iPad app and as an iBook in Itunes for $9.99.
Reviewed by Molly Remer
A combination of stirring photography celebrating the creative journey of pregnancy and lyrical ode to women, Evolve is a unique book presented by artist Patrick Stull. The author-photographer’s love, respect, and honor for women shines through on every page. The photographs are arresting and dramatic and the prose is poetic and beautiful. The book is part of a multimedia exhibit taking place in 2012. I would love to see the full exhibit, which involves full body casts as well as images and voice recordings.
Why would a man prepare a project such as this? According to his introduction, due to “this insatiable desire to be part of something that excludes me…I have found something within me that one might call love, though I think it is more a sense of attachment to something that makes me whole. I have fallen in love with this creature and she has left her imprint on my being, casting me out to share the love—the humanity I have found.” Later he also shares that: “I have discovered nothing more stunning, nothing more emotionally stirring, nothing more intriguing than a woman as she creates life.” He also has an activist purpose behind his work, asserting that one mission of the Evolve project is to help people recognize the strength and value that all women possess. Stull states, “I also want people to consider the daily injustices to women and children all over the world, and how often they suffer the greatest costs of conflict. Why are women treated so cruelly?”
The early photographs shared are the faces of the women we follow throughout the rest of the book. A short snippet of information about the woman’s life accompanies each portrait. One woman is a midwife and several mothers had homebirths and/or hired doulas or midwives for their births. Evolve is a high quality hardback book that would be a great addition to a birth center waiting room or midwife’s office. If the price for the hardback book is out of your budget, luckily there is an affordable iBook version available.
The overwhelming message received through Evolve is of pregnancy as an active process. The pictures are very active and dynamic in feel, celebrating form and motion. Evolve is not a book of “belly pictures,” it is a book about women and their lives in the act of creation.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.