|ALL OR NOTHING by Luca Sage|
"I've got an idea for shooting you which I'm going to look into. Lets have another cup of tea soon" wrote Luca to me on 8th February 2013. In fact, we met for the actual shoot next and it was an unusual session because it really had the relaxed air of a sort of introductory experimental shoot as a precursor to the proper serious one. And yet, this was the result. How on earth can anyone take such a beautiful photograph? It has depth, seriousness, stillness and a smudge.
It is like one of those days when it is raining and I have got up to London too early and so I nip into Waterstone's in Piccadilly and trudge up to the Photography section and find a book of photographs by someone I don't know. I sit down and slowly turn each page and then, suddenly, I turn over page 51 and there, on page 52, is the most magnificent black and white portrait of a man or woman bare chested looking out at you with a look of dark solemnity which tells me almost all I need to know about the person. The image fills the page and blots out all other thoughts drifting through my brain. I don't want to see more pictures of the same person but I want to see more pictures taken by the same person. I tuck my finger into page 52 and carry on. The photograph has invested the others in the book with a richness that I did not notice before but, as good as the other shots are, they don't seem to touch me in the same way. I flick back to page 52 and look again in wonder. The person has not left me. He or she is still there, thinking the same thoughts which travel across time and space and slip into my consciousness. I want to buy the book but I can't afford it. I want to tear the picture out but I would be denying someone else the pleasure of seeing it, perhaps like me for the first time.
I look again. I want to talk to the guy at the desk about it. To the woman who is sitting opposite me. The bare chest is like a cloak of skin and down. It is not a bare body; it is the essence of me. I become the person in the photograph. I am looking at myself as I was in another life. I replace the book on the shelf and look over to the woman who was sitting opposite. She has closed her book and is texting someone. The guy on the desk is serving a customer with a Beano Book. Life goes on. I have my meeting, I go home and I tell Jane about my day but I have a feeling that I need to tell her something important and then I remember that photograph. I find it online. It seems smaller. In the wrong place. A copy of the original. I show Jane and she agrees that it is a great image. I come away and chat with her. We have a drink. We eat our supper. Eventually, I return to the computer and there it is staring at me. It is simply beautiful.
THAT is what this photograph by Luca is like.
There was a photographer called August Sander who took similar photographs and whose photograph "Young Farmers" had the same effect on me. His work will never be forgotten. One day, people will say the same thing about Luca Sage.
And do you know what?