Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Review: Landscape of a Woman by Byron Newman

One of the things I enjoy the most about making a living indulging my passions is all of the incredible, creative people I am privileged enough to meet and sometimes lucky enough to collaborate with!  Even when I end my blog sentences with a preposition, they have a lovely habit of caring more about the meaning of my writings and images than about their technical perfection!  

Two years ago, I was fortunate enough to enjoy the company of the talented master photographers involved with https://shootthecenterfold.com and soak up some of their collective knowledge.   I suspect the information was far more valuable to my photographer - while I got to revel in the personalities and passions! :-)  I enjoyed a delightful repartee with a legendary Brit lens-master, Byron Newman - whose love of natural light, natural beauty, and naturally a bit of mischief resonated with me vividly!

Classic Byron Newman

Since then, my travels to London seem to keep criss-crossing with his sojourns to Africa and Ibiza, but we stay in touch online and I'm grateful for his feedback and encouragement.   He's recently published his first novel, Landscape of a Woman.   Especially in light of my current work on Memoirs of a Jaded Romantic, I've been eager to absorb not only his writing but also his experiences in publishing!   It was an honor to feel comfortable enough to offer him my review, both privately and online.   What follows is that review for your information, the link to download his novel, and my shameless plug for a truly cool gentleman's unique erotic spin on the Landscape of a Woman!  

I’ll confess up front:  when I heard that one of my favorite photographers was venturing into erotic fiction, I cringed.   Not just a twinge, a full-on groaning wince.   Why?  Think Michael Jordan’s foray into baseball, or Madonna’s early “acting.”   It is often painful to watch a master of one art form blunder through another.

Much to my delight, however, Mr. Newman remained true to form … translating his eye for beauty and passion for women into an articulate and titillating exposé of an era and it’s lifestyle adventures!    He gives voice to the restless eroticism of the 80’s,  flavored with a rich flair of European style.   Those of us lucky enough to have romped through that playground will recognize the sights, sounds, tastes, and energies of the settings with delight – & find them all yummily enriched by the personalities of his characters.

The women here were another pleasant surprise.   Quite often, erotica has a decidedly masculine lean – the characterizations ringing hollow and vaguely cartoonish to me.    Again, Mr. Newman’s genuine understanding and respect for women in all their imperfect, sensual glory shines through and wins the day.   Just as his impressive body of photographic work encompasses the diversity of women’s personalities and forms, his writing offers real, flawed, sexy, and compelling women who act on their own fantasies and needs, not the stereotypical cravings of vanilla society.   Relatable, mysterious, and exciting – the entire cast is worth sharing the trip through this exploration of sensuality and it’s context in a unique place and time.

A final note of appreciation  … while Byron manages to stay true to the perspective of his characters, there is no denying that his particularly edgy, very British, slightly ironic voice shines through in proper measure.   You will find yourself holding your breath in anticipation, sighing with impatience, & chuckling with glee at the vivid images his prose evokes.  In the end, I feel like the author and I are mutual acquaintances of the characters – and it would be lovely to gossip about them over a cup of tea - or a bottle of  scotch!  Overall, a strong entré into the genre and a novel more insightful than expected – I look forward to seeing more of Mr. Newman’s tales  from his lovely, lusty view of the landscape of a woman!


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