A special thanks to Rosa Weisfeld (The Magical Animal American Craft Gallery) for this heartfelt Forward to the Gentle Souls of the Forest books:
"The artistry of the Gentle Souls of the Forest books explain themselves in the deepest of ways – even if someone doesn’t know “who” the whitetail deer is – an individual deer becomes representational of deer– and the sensitivity in his photos captures a feeling that words can’t capture - that each deer is an individual living their own life story. A deep message that seeps in is that ultimately it is not necessary to know each one - to feel love and respect and reverence for each of them and to feel how important and lasting family ties and friendship between deer are in the fabric of a deer’s life.
The photos freeze a moment filled with the emotional soul and heart of a deer - capturing the intimacy of the feeling of gentle innocence and it is directly transported from the deer to a person’s heart– bypassing human commentary.
What mesmerizes is the attention to detail –the artistry of the photos and how carefully the book layouts draw you in. There is the art of how Gentle Souls of the Forest works together as a collection of fine art photos – you as a viewer participate in the experience of encountering each deer – it becomes truly like the person’s own individual walk in the forest – where each time you turn the pages, another quiet walk brings new discoveries and insights. The deer are the writers of the books – the conveyers of their own stories and Gentle Souls of the Forest invites us to come along for the walk – meeting and connecting with each deer on his and her own terms that you feel – once you feel it – it can’t be unfelt.
What I love about the books is the mission potential beyond one’s own experience – Gentle Souls of the Forest is such an education tool taught by the teachers themselves – the deer and the books are a springboard for a person who loves deer - to show others why. The photos convey such clarity of who deer are – from the pure bliss and comfort of grooming each other to the companionship and family – is so conveyed through an empathetic, respectful and insightful lens – the most important education there is – seeing and at the same time feeling how much each deer’s life matters to that deer – and how deep family ties are - feeling who a deer is and what matters to a deer and how each deer wants what anyone wants – to live a life – trusting and feeling safe in their home.
Gentle Souls of the Forest is a collection of feelings and moments and the background of this that people don’t see or think about is how the soul and heart and spirit of the animal comes alive in the photos because of earned trust – and that is why the exquisitely sensitive photos capture the real essence of a deer and an intimacy that is seen and felt.
I can't recommend these books enough - as books that capture your own heart and answer over and over who a deer is - and as a resource beyond yourself - a "resource tool" to raise awareness and open the heart - not with sentimentality - but through the lens of mutual trust, empathy and insight - showing through the deer, themselves - who these gentle souls of the forest are."
Photo from Gentle Souls of the Forest book 1.