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The Tenuous Stem.

Photographs by Janet Russek.
Radius Books, 2013. 176 pp., 100 duotone illustrations, 9x10".

Publisher's Description
In 1993, Janet Russek began a series of still lifes of ripe squashes, peaches and pears whose rounded forms echoed the plenitude of pregnancy. Using only natural light, she then started to photograph vegetables and roots whose tendrils, reaching for the sun, expressed all of life’s striving and aspiration, and finally, the maturing plant, evoking the inevitable downward spiral into decay. In subsequent years, Russek has expanded the project to include pregnant women photographed at close range so that bellies and breasts become almost abstract. Her haunting portraits of dolls explore the darker, more psychologically complex side of childhood and parenting, while the Memory series includes photos of significant personal objects that harken to the past, and take this volume full circle. The Tenuous Stem also includes an essay, written by art scholar and critic MaLin Wilson-Powell, addressing Russek’s creative process.

Read the review by Christopher J. Johnson

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