Beautiful Women
Nancy Bruno
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Buy *Beautiful Women: Celebrating Beauty in Stories and Stills* by Nancy Bruno online

Beautiful Women: Celebrating Beauty in Stories and Stills
Nancy Bruno
Bridgeway Books
68 pages
January 2008
rated 5 of 5 possible stars

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Nancy Bruno is an award-winning photographer who has chosen, for this project, the mysterious medium of black and white to portray not only the looks of 35 women of all ages, but their spirit, their courage, their dreamed and dreaming selves.

Consider the story of Susannah, who was "born in a land she does not call home to a woman she knows very little about." A foundling, she was taken in by nuns who named her Susana, and then adopted by a woman who wanted a little girl named Susannah. Susannah, we are told in this gentle text, became a painter, a social worker, and a marathon runner. "Today, she dedicates herself to listening, hearing, and validating children in the hopes of nurturing someone as she was herself."

Alexis had to deal with the suicide of a close friend as a young teen - "all Alexis knew was that there didn't seem to be anywhere to go." When she was able to move forward again, she found hidden talents and a sister with wisdom, a job, and eventually a new relationship. Bruno's camera captures her, blonde mane hanging freely down, taking care of one of her equine friends.

After the loss of three friends, Linda, whom we see on her bicycle, reassessed her life and realized "she was comfortably existing but not living." She began to change course, taking her inspiration from the Biblical Queen Esther.

Diana, a bold woman holding a camera, is an inspiration to others, dedicated to racial equality and the belief that "everyone should stand out, everyone should be noticed, and everyone should be valued."

Kate, who loves fabric, had the tapestry of her life ripped apart when her youngest son was tragically taken, and she "wrapped her heart in the black gauze of cypress." But in time she was able to trade the black for white and explore bright colors again.

From early childhood, Joan wanted to have an impact on the world, so she became a nun. But she came to understand that "it wasn't her habit that made an imprint on the lives of those she touched, but her genuine interest, care and compassion." She left the convent, had a baby, and is now a devoted grandmother. Bruno has photographed her on the floor playing with little Ashlyn, a meeting of three generations as daughter/mother Susan looks on.

Beautiful Women has been endorsed by the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Barbara Bamberger Scott, 2008

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