Forty Forevers by Bea Nettles

This accordion book contains 40 photographs of initials carved into hearts on the trunks of trees. The initials gradually fade and become illegible towards the book’s end. From the introduction:

"Over the years I’ve recorded hearts carved on trees. They raise many questions. Are pocket knives still common? Were these marks made secretly or as an open and serious declaration? My grandparents used forty forevers to express their concept of a truly long stretch of time. Did the couples remain together forever? As can be observed in some cases, nature has the ability to erase even the most ardent emotions."

Artist Bio

The exhibition career of Bea Nettles began in 1970 when her work was shown in “Photography Into Sculpture,” at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Recognition as an experimental photographic artist followed and her work has been featured in over two hundred exhibitions throughout the world and appears in a major retrospective monograph Harvest of Memory: Bea Nettles. Her books appear in Handmade Books, 2010 and 500 Handmade Books, Lark Books, 2008; The Nature of Craft and the Penland Experience, Lark Books, 2004; The Book of Alternative Processes, Delmar, 2001 and reviewed in Bonefolder, Fall 2008, Umbrella, Spring 2005 and Winter 1988, JAB12: The Journal of Artists Books, Spring 2018 and Fall 1999. Interviews appear in Ampersand, Fall 2005; on a podcast from University of Alabama, and a range of videos posted to YouTube. Numerous public collections and special collections libraries contain her work and she has received two National Endowment for the Arts Photography Fellowships and grants from the New York and Illinois State Arts Councils. Nettles has taught thousands of students since 1970. Her classic textbook Breaking the Rules: A Photo Media Cookbook reached two generations of readers. She has delivered lectures and workshops internationally and is widely recognized for her innovations in mixed media photography and photographic books.