Monday, 11 May 2009
Loretta Lux photographs Isabel
pictures: Loretta Lux
A few years ago I did an MA in documentary photography. I don't get out much any more so most of my photography is of my immediate family, in particular my daughter Isabel. So the dissertation I wrote for the course was on photography of childhood, as seen through one photograph, The Rose Garden by Loretta Lux. I chose this because it balances landscape, costume, posture and aspects of the gaze all in one image seeping with art historical references. And it was shot on a 3mb Nikon Coolshot. And there are DDR echoes in there. I could go on and on. In fact I did go on and on and you can read it all here in my dissertation, The Lux Effect, Real or Imaginary.
A side effect of this was I got to visit Loretta and she photographed Isabel several times. Photography is a random process so the first few times nothing came of it. But in the end something did and they are the pictures above. I love them for the beauty, the mystery, the exhaustion and the way they don't impose a reality on Isabel, the way they bring her to the fore as a conscious, thinking, understanding child. They don't project adult values or perspectives on her but show her as a being in herself. Very few photographs of childhood do this, but that, more than anything, is what distinguishes the really great photography of childhood. It might sound strange, but this is as real as it gets. Thanks Loretta, they're fabulous!