BY TSHEPISO MAMETELA – 10 OCTOBER 2023
Established Eastern Cape fine art photographer Marlene Neumann held an exclusive reading in Walmer of her recently launched book, A Dance with Life.
The event at Fogarty’s Bookshop gave a remarkable insight into her unique journey of dabbling in and developing a black-and-white darkroom process.
With an enthralled audience sitting back and eager to listen, the reading on Thursday offered key lessons to inspire new thinking based on nature and spirituality.
The East London inspirational speaker shared her personal and deeply philosophical offering on her first stop of a book tour in the city.
A donation drive added extra excitement to the evening as guests donated dog food in large quantities for charitable aid in Gqeberha.
The nature photography vet of 40 years, whose previous experience includes heading the art and design department at an SA Technikon, said people yearned for new experiences.
“The response from Gqeberha was beautiful and overwhelming,” Neumann said.
“People are hungry for this kind of vulnerability and rawness, and to bring it into their daily lives by opening themselves up to a new way of living.
“Many said they wanted me to come back and hold a few workshops.”
Traumatic and life-threatening circumstances in her life awakened in Neumann the importance of savouring each moment.
This deep appreciation through her own experiences allowed the audience to be transported on a gentle journey of self-understanding.
“This is what we need in society — just how to go forward in a new way of being,” she said after launching A Dance with Life, her third book, three months ago.
“A Dance with Life, like [the previous two books], is based around my photographs and, more specifically, about peeling back the layers of our own emotions through the photographs.
“It’s another way of being and feeling and giving people permission to be vulnerable.
“Busy, ordinary people want to learn a new way of life and it is time.”
On the donations, which brought in more than 100kg of feed which Save-A-Pet in Greenbushes will distribute at an informal settlement in Kuyga, Neumann expressed her keen love for dogs.
This, she said, was a testament to a project she runs focusing on sterilisation in East London’s informal settlement areas.
“The Buckaroo Sterilisation Drive serves as a fundraising and awareness initiative primarily focused on the welfare of animals.
“In the last five years, I have had 2,500 dogs sterilised by managing to get international funding.
“Wherever I go for the book readings, I will always collect dog food for a local dog charity.”
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