Perfect Intimacy

Publisher: powerHouse Books
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.