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Book White Monks: A Life in Shadows

This handmade book offers an intimate glimpse into an ancient way of life that is slowly disappearing, a testament to lives devoted to spiritual service, in extraordinary counterpoint to the modern world.

Produced in a limited edition of fifty.

The Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, more commonly known as the Trappists, is a Roman Catholic contemplative, enclosed order of monks and nuns, that evolved from a succession of reforms to return to the true spirit of the Benedictines. Living in solitude, in an atmosphere of silence, they have chosen a life of private contemplation very rarely seen by others. Made over a period of three years, this collection of photographs gives us a sense of the mystique of monastic life, the enigmatic otherness of monks.

Photographed in three monasteries in Spain: Monasterio de La Oliva in Navarra, Monasterio de San Pedro de Cardeña in Burgos, and Abadia San Isidro de Dueñas in Palencia.

With selected quotes by Henry David Thoreau, James Thurber, Robert Browning and others in English and Spanish.

Edition of fifty.
£500 / €650 / $800

Book production

Full bound in dark brown goat skin. Cream foil blocked.
Housed in a black linen covered slipcase, with recessed silver gelatin print.
176 pages. 84 black and white photographs.

Printed on Lambeth Cartridge Paper. 170 gsm.
Tracing paper interleaves.

Slipcase dimensions 26.1 cm x 24.1 cm x 4 cm (10.27¨ x 9.48¨ x 1.57¨)
Book dimensions 25.3 cm x 23.5 cm x 3 cm (9.96¨ x 9.25¨ x 1.18¨)

Photography and design by Francesca Phillips
Printed by Senecio, Oxfordshire, UK
Binding by Ludlow Bookbinders, Shropshire, UK.

Public collections

Herron Art Library at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
The University of Washington
The British Library


Sacred / Profane. 23 Sandy Gallery. Portland, Oregon, USA. November 7th – December 20th 2014
Wolfson College Oxford, UK 2014
Holy Trinity Church, London 2013

Oxford Fine Press Book Fair. UK. November 2013
Bristol Artists Book Event (BABE), Arnolfini, Bristol. April 21st & 22nd 2013.

Photo Book Works. Abecedarian Gallery, Colorado, USA. February 16th – April 6th 2013
Centro de Iniciativas de la Caja de Canarias ( CICCA ), Spain 2013

This publication can be ordered from me or from

Vamp and Tramp Booksellers
1951 Hoover Court, Suite 205
Birmingham AL 35226-3606
Phone (205) 824 2300

Represented in the UK by

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