Yoga: The Secret of LifeBy Francesco Mastalia (PowerHouse Books, 2017) Buy It Now
Dutchess County photographer Francesco Mastalia (Organic, Dreads) makes breathtaking images using a process that predates the Civil War. Wet-plate collodion prints require long stillness, making some of the poses in his new book Yoga seem downright impossible. But the vintage technology captures a spiritual energy; Mastalia’s subjects glow from within. Photography also has mystical elements: As he reminds us, it is an alchemy of sunlight, time, and vision. Renowned yogis (including Radhanath Swami, Krishna Das, Sharon Gannon, David Life, Rodney Yee, and nonagenarian Tao-Porchon Lynch) appear alongside devotees who speak movingly of their practice. Though Mastalia traveled the world for this project, many of its striking prints were created at Rhinebeck’s Omega Institute and Kripalu Center in the Berkshires. Textured linen binding, letterpress titles, and gold endpapers complement the artisanal quality of the photographs. A beautiful gift from the heart to the body and soul.