Reclaimed

BY BERT STEPHANI

STEPHANI-desert-02.jpg

I'm supposed to have a slow morning before I'm flying back home but instead I was up at 4 am and now I'm on my way to the desert, outside of Dubai. It's a last minute opportunity that I just can't pass on. The night before I was invited to join a team from Gulf Photo Plus for a trip to an abandoned town in the desert. They are doing some filming to promote their upcoming Photo Week event (check it out, our buddy Kevin Mullins will be one of the teachers there). 

The camera is with me, but basically I'm going simply because I like being in the desert. The first remains of the small abandoned village don't bring the sadness that I usually get in deserted places. It doesn't disturb me and it doesn't seem to disturb nature either. It's just there, peacefully and calm.

On the edge of the settlement a small mosque glows in the morning sun. I sit down on the wall that surrounds it and can't help thinking that it is more spiritual place than any active religious place that I've ever visited. 

STEPHANI-desert-07.jpg

I sit there for almost an hour and I look back at an amazing trip and an amazing year. I look forward to become a better photographer, a better boyfriend, a better dad, a better man. And I look inside to see what will drive transition. 

Inside ... loneliness, sadness, frustration and insecurity orbit around me but can't quite get traction. My gaze turns outside and just like these buildings I accept the flow.

It's time to head home, face demons and embrace angels. 

Happy New Year everyone, I'm looking forward to see what 2018 will bring for KAGE. In case you were wondering: most of the pictures in this story were shot with the GFX50S with the GF63mm lens. I used the panoramic crop mode for these pictures and for a couple of pictures I used the X100F in 16:9 mode and cropped them a bit tighter in post to match the GFX shots. 

Life on Mars


 Mars, Antarctica or Mount Everest Base Camp might be warmer alternatives for some Canadians on Thursday, as the country faces an epic cold snap that has plunged the mercury to record-setting lows in many regions.
— ctvnews.ca

Last year it was polar vortex. This year it’s bombogenesis. Out here in the northern lands, away from sensationalist headlines, we just call it bloody damn cold.

Of course, some clueless fool will surely jump at the opportunity: “See! Global warming=total hoax! Fake news!”. It’ll probably be on Twitter and Twitter won’t care, probably followed by the word sad and a few spelling mistakes. And weather patterns will keep shifting, and hurricanes will keep blowing...blow, blow, blow the house down.

But hey...we’ll get a few fun words out of it.

- - -

Addendum: a week later and the rain hasn’t stopped for two days. It’s 10ºC. In Quebec. In January.

seven suns

BY VINCENT BALDENSPERGER

Noëllia et Gaël ont une passion commune, la liberté. Concepteurs, créateurs, artisans, tous deux réalisent des longboards haut de gamme aux finitions exemplaires. Matériaux, design, tonalités graphiques, performances, rien n'est laissé au hasard. De la découpe aux finitions manuelles, ponçage, peinture, vernis, assemblage, les deux artistes de la glisse démontrent leur savoir-faire. 7 suns, leur signature la plus lumineuse, magique, positive...

- - - 

Noëllia and Gaël share a passion: freedom. Designers, creators and artisans, they both produce exquisite high-end longboards. Nothing is left to chance: materials, graphics and performance are all top notch. From the very first cut through each finishing step, these artists shine. 7 Suns, their luminous signature, magical, positive... 

Life Between Trains

BY ROBERT CATTO

[A companion piece to Life at 320 Frames Per Second, from our December 2017 issue.]

For ten days, we race around the country, often unsure of our exact location.

Coming as we did from near-summer in Australia to near-winter in Japan, the angle of light and the shortness of the days strike me most; when we arrive at our destination for the night, as often as not it is getting dark, the shadows are deep.

But between the rushing forward, there are moments of tranquility; even in the bustle of cities, among the crowded tourist spots, the giant car parks full of buses.

A time for prayer; an ice cream cone; a flight of birds; an evening shower.

But of course, there is always another station; another train.

And once again, we rush. This time, homeward.

Fleeting

 DCIM/100MEDIA/DJI_0071.JPG

PHOTOGRAPHY & TEXT BY DEREK CLARK

Our views and the questions we ask ourselves change as we age. Our own mortality (and the closer we get to it) is a big part of it, but we change as people. What made us happy in our twenties is different from what makes us happy or content in out 30's, 40's ...etc. A strange thing happened to me in the past year or two that through me quite a bit. We all know money can’t buy us happiness, but when the rest of my life was idling along fine, a new, camera, lens, light or analog synthesizer would give me a great buzz and keep me happily occupied for months. It could take me a long time to be able to afford something, but I would thoroughly enjoy researching it, reading the owners manual online or watching YouTube reviews (in recent years).

But one day I woke up and realized nothing was doing it for me. I was surrounded by the mundane and I was drowning in it. I tried to buy my way out of it with toys, but I couldn’t understand why I felt nothing. The new toy buzz no longer works and that's scary. I'm one of those people that pretty much know who they are and have done from an early age. I don’t smoke have never taken alcohol or drugs (the vice kind or the medical kind) and nobody could tempt me to do anything that I hadn’t already decided to do. So when you start to change and you don’t know why, it's difficult to know how to fix it. I wasn’t unhappy, but I just didn’t get a buzz out of life anymore. I had no focus and no obsession.

Last year I decided to try out a little experiment. I was in London during the week of my birthday with my wife and kids. I decided that on my birthday, I would wear the same clothes from that point on. I bought six pairs of dark grey trousers (like jeans, but smarter), six black T-shirts, socks, and underwear. I then bought a pair of quality black boots and a few dark jumpers and shirts. When I got back home, I put my other clothes in a suitcase and put it in the cupboard. I have not needed or wanted to use anything in that suitcase in over a year. I put my hand in the wardrobe each morning and pull out the same things each time. I can dress in the dark because it's all the same. I spend no time thinking about what to wear and that small change has taken away a pointless decision I had to make each day.

Another freeing thing is when I find myself in a clothes shop with my wife. I have no urge to buy anything for myself because I have what I need. It's a knock-on thing that I hadn’t thought of when I made this decision, but I like it...a lot.

So it's 2018, more than a year on and the wardrobe experiment has been a huge success and one that has become permanent. In the last few days before writing this, I have thrown out more stuff than I have ever thrown out before. The suitcase full of clothes went and a lot more than that. Apart from a couple of suits and coats, all my clothes can easily fit in one of those small suitcases that can be taken on a plane as carryon luggage.

I've also thrown out a load of stuff, including a guitar amp, a keyboard amp, a flight-case full of lenses from old film cameras. Lots more will go in the coming weeks too.
I don’t know what I'm looking for, but I know it's not in stuff. Hopefully clearing out the clutter will set me on a new path. We will see.

-------

Addendum: I've read a few books on minimalism in the past year, but 'Goodbye, Things - The New Japanese Minimalism' by Fumio Sasaki is probably the best so far. It's a Japanese book that has been translated perfectly into English by Eriko Sugita. The audiobook version is read by Keith Szarabajka and is very good. Both versions are available on iTunes at a reasonable price and the audiobook version is 4hr and 33 min long (unabridged).

7x020

Spirit of Light Derek Clark | X-Pro2 - 16-55mm f2.8 (22.7mm) - ISO3200 - f/4 - 1/40 sec

Spirit of Light
Derek Clark | X-Pro2 - 16-55mm f2.8 (22.7mm) - ISO3200 - f/4 - 1/40 sec

Street Vendor Bert Stephani | X100F - ISO2000 - f/2 - 1/160

Street Vendor
Bert Stephani | X100F - ISO2000 - f/2 - 1/160

Entry via the gate(s), Kyoto
Robert Catto | X-T2, 18mm f/2. 1/250 at f/8, ISO 200.

Mr. Pink Jonas Rask | GFX50s, Mitakon 85mm f/1.2, 1/125, ISO 800.

Mr. Pink
Jonas Rask | GFX50s, Mitakon 85mm f/1.2, 1/125, ISO 800.

Eloiz
Vincent Baldensperger | X-Pro2. | 35mm 1/125 at f/1.6, ISO 100.

Take out, after the conference Patrick La Roque | X100F. 1/125 at f/2, ISO 2000.

Take out, after the conference
Patrick La Roque | X100F. 1/125 at f/2, ISO 2000.

Life at 320 Frames Per Second

Life at 320 Frames Per Second

It takes a little getting used to - the constant rushing forward.

Travelling by Shinkansen, Japan's high-speed rail system, feels at first like a plane taking off; but, you never quite achieve flight, and the acceleration seems endless.

Out the window, anything close is passing to quickly to focus on; so you adjust to a series of glimpses, of passing cities, farms, stations. And, occasionally, a human form - a face, a shape, a silhouette. A flicker of life outside the metal tube...

Les fantômes du moulin

By Vincent Baldensperger

KAGE, OMBRE (en japonais)... Sans lumière pas de Kage. C'est une philosophie, un équilibre constant qui nous pousse, tous les membres du collectif, à modeler nos regards, à tenter de saisir cette balance sensible. L'invitation reçue à rejoindre le groupe il y a maintenant presque trois ans est tatouée dans ma mémoire. Rien de moins qu'une clé décisive dans mon existence. Reconnaissance sincère à tous mes compagnons de l'ombre pour leur regard lumineux. Heureux non-anniversaire !

Je n'ai pas souhaité plonger dans un catalogue, présenter un best-of. Il est à venir...
Je suis allé faire un tour côté Ombre, là où le silence est roi.

"Prendre à droite, route des usines vers le Pic de Nore"... là-bas du passé subsistent quelques traces. Délainage, textile, mégisserie, il faut s'enfoncer dans la pénombre de cette vallée pour retrouver ces vaisseaux fantômes. 4 degrés, des moulins et des ouvriers oubliés. "Vous êtes frères, frères de travail, frères de misère, frères d'espérance" leur lançait Jaurès en 1893. Echos définitivement perdus aux 4 coins de cette Montagne Noire.

Tôt ou tard la forêt grignotera jusqu'à la dernière pierre, jusqu'à la dernière poutre. Le soleil se couche. Ici comme ailleurs, on n'oublie rien de rien, on n'oublie rien du tout, on s'habitue c'est tout.

For the love of Kage

By Kevin Mullins

The Kage Collective is five years old.

I wasn't here at the beginning, but I'm glad I'm here now.

Whilst I'm proud to be a member, I feel I'm an apprentice to the other great photographers in this collective.  

I have learnt so much from them, not only through their imagery and storytelling but from our behind-the-scenes communication also.

I study their work constantly, as I'm sure you do, and every issue we publish I get a paroxysm of pride.

I envy their skill at storytelling, and I envy their curated stories.  My work is very peripatetic.  I move from wedding to wedding, lecture or talk to workshop and back to a wedding.

Often I feel there is little structure or coherence in what I'm doing long term.  

I picked up my first ever camera in 2009.  Back then, I shot with DSLRs and really, had no base idea of light, shadow and the relationship between them.

As I've moved through my journey, I find myself drawn to making images based on shadow, and light.  It's the essence of photography, we all know that, but for me, personally, I try to use these base elements to try and make what may be a benign image, more powerful.

As we move into 2018, I'm hoping to have more curated projects.  I often describe myself to my clients as "a curator of memories".  I think that's true of all photographers, and the memories I curate are in the most part for myself, my own family and of course, other people's through their wedding imagery.

But one thing is standard.  One thing is omnipresent, perhaps.  And that's the love of the Kage.  

Kage means "Shadow" in Japanese