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ove and lust are among the most powerful emotions. No two people experience them in the exact same way, but these emotions have sway over all of us. We love and lust after physical objects, spiritual and societal attainment, family, success, and of course, romantic partners. They dominate our thoughts and drive our decisions. The fourth book published by Open to Interpretation, Love + Lust presents words and pictures that are as varied and complex as its namesake emotions. No two photos are alike and no two stories are alike. Open to Interpretation publishes juried book competitions that explore the relationships between photography, poetry and prose. Each book begins with a themed call for photographs. The selected images then become literary inspiration for writers’ submissions. Each photograph is paired with two pieces of writing. For Love + Lust the jurors—photographer and blogger Aline Smithson and award-winning poet and author Dorianne Laux—join forces to combine image with imagination. Beautifully designed, the simple, crisp, and clean layout helps the eye to see both writings and photographs individually. The photographs sit adjacent to its corresponding literature, leading the eye from page to page, each piece complementing the other. With more people than ever documenting their romantic relationships through photography, pinning down a specific image for love or lust might seem simple. What sets Love + Lust apart, however is the balance between the title words in a single piece of writing or a single photo. The jurors selected pieces that most accurately and tastefully displayed these emotions. As the publication’s creator Clare O’Neil writes in the introduction, “[s]ome of the submissions were eye-openers, even for me. While going through the estimated 2,000 submissions, some of the interpretations, for both photography and writing, were slightly more lustful than what everyone was prepared to

publish, but there were other photos that revealed ‘the complete spectrum on this call.’” The featured artists and writers understood the balance that Smithson and Laux sought to present. The photographs are evenly divided between concepts of lust and love. After several read-throughs, I tended to favor the photos and poems of parental love and the photos involving elderly couples. The book is especially successful in the areas where writing and photos were able to capture a deep-seated love that binds the subject closer to their partner, or a lust that true love can encompass. For instance, a mother’s passion to care for their child, as in Catherine Just’s “Nap Time,” or Niki Berg’s “Desire” which illustrates the time-tested passion between an elderly couple. Accompanied by the words of Steve Hoffman, “Look how, in our old age, the gods have joined our bodies

at the hip.” While reading and studying the pictures I found myself contemplating true love, laughing out loud at some of the awkwardness that some submissions evoked in my own memory, and even being brought to tears thinking of my life and that of my parents and grandparents. This is what Open to Interpretation is all about: presenting a photo as more than an image, and providing a visual accompaniment to the reader’s searching mind. It is a brilliant matrimony of words to photography, and photography to words. There is a definite journey for the reader, and just like love and lust, that journey is completely unique for each person that cracks open the book. Amanda Hite-Salvato is a newlywed freelance photographer and writer. She is fluent in Spanish and travels the world.

Desire, Niki Berg

FALL 2014


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