Sunday's Photography Book Review: Loretta Lux

Updated: Dec 8, 2019

Who is Loretta Lux? I didn't know about her until some years ago, when GEM, the Photography Museum in The Hague (The Netherlands), held an exhibition and a friend of mine told me I should have absolutely go to have a look.

The type of photography of Loretta is minimalist photography, with a careful use of pastel color, simple backgrounds and focus on the clothing of the subjects. And the subject are children, odd children with abnormally big and empty eyes and almost alienated from this world, just like in a science fiction representation. It almost seems that they cannot get in touch with us and we cannot get in touch with them as they are not paying attention to us. Is this because the adults are too far from the children? Or is it because are the adults who should try to get in touch and not the children?

The pictures of Loretta Lux seem modern reproduction of old children's painting, with the difference that in such paintings the children had to express fierceness and glory, while the kids depicted by Loretta seem to be as insecure and uncomfortable as the clothes they wear.

The photos of Loretta Lux don't have a real purpose, they don't intend to depict children in their own entourages and acting like children. The photos of Loretta Lux aim at the viewer looking at children in their un-real setting and think about time passing, think about growing, think about the introspection that the absent look of these children might trigger.

I particularly like the careful choice of colors in these pictures, more than anything else, not only the pastel soft tone used all over in the book, but also the fact that the children modeling in this book wear colors which are in line with their backgrounds and environment. So the opposite of the color contrast I am very passionate about (see my FRUIT CONTRAST series here), and definitely admirable the careful choice of colors and clothes.. which makes me think about something I still don't do yet regularly, which is setting up properly and carefully a studio stage, carefully think about composition and lighting when working indoor with subjects or still life objects.. I only do that for the photographs presented in my WEB SHOP and it's A LOT OF work (!) which tends to put if off sometimes..

Another interesting thing the book mentions is the way Loretta Lux edits her pictures: almost all backgrounds are added afterwards, from personal photos of landscapes and backgrounds, creating layers and a kind of 3-dimension effect which we could somehow notice in the pictures but not really understand exactly what it was.

If you want to have other insights on children's photography, you can check out on Google artists like Sally Mann, Diane Arbus, Helen Levitt or the more modern Jake Olson, Arian Sommeling or Suzy Mead.

The SPBR (Sunday Photography's Book Review) articles are a review of existing photography books: I make a summary of what the editor writes, highlighting what I consider important and adding my own comments, idea and perceptions. This means that the main idea is extracted by the text included in the books and written by their contributors (all rights reserved).

- All pictures included in this article are from Loretta Lux book "Loretta Lux". Pictures might be subject to copyrights: all rights are reserved to the author.

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