#Unite @ Montreal

Aux sombres héros de l’amer
Qui ont su traverser les océans du vide
A la memoire de nos frères
Dont les sanglots si longs faisaient couler l’acide...
— Noir Désir

Text and photography by Patrick La Roque

The dream is always the same...tornadoes appearing in the distance, slowly filling up the sky. I sit by the window, aware of the oncoming darkness and cold breath of the thunderclouds as I watch in silence, a witness to the gathering storm.


Today I stood with children and grandmothers, fathers and sisters and brothers and friends, all united against tyranny. I heard the courage of a people united in the broken song of an old woman, her voice sad but strong, shaken but defiant, ready to push back against the long nights of terror and barbarians.

As I write these words over 120 people have died in Paris, slaughtered by strangers, by neighbours, by their own. But today we faced the tornadoes, shoulder to shoulder.

No more.

Landscapes of Memory (I)

The point of departure is so often a severance. The breaking of ties, a rejection of all that is past.

The stillness of old spaces. Ancient burial grounds, awaiting resurrection; the spirits that burst forth in seething, vital turmoil.

At the borders of origin, can we deny that what we are, owes its place, to what was? 

Can we enter the foggy ground of what we were, without destroying what we are?

Can we ever truly return?

I am the Fire in the Structure

Text and photography by Patrick La Roque

"These are the new mountains" my father said, "towering and driven monuments, drilled into the ground by force, not time—there's a difference..." "Why? Why is it different?" I asked. "Because it's borne of control..." he answered, lighting another cigarette, his eyes suddenly vacant "...And meant to control."

We may eventually become the worlds we inhabit, as they absorb us through osmosis and sheer strength of will. But as I walk in silence, dwarfed in these extinct territories, it dawns on me: I will not be transformed, I will fight; I will testify.

I am the fire in the structure.

We are KAGE | Backstory

Last spring we received an email from one of the organizers of the Photon Festival, a gathering focused on photojournalism that takes place in Valencia, Spain every year. They were doing an evening featuring photography collectives and wanted to spotlight KAGE as one of the groups. Obviously we were very flattered and even thought of attending in some capacity—the logistics, unfortunately, didn’t pan out.

We decided to create a short video documentary to explain our motivations both as a group and a collective, something that would ultimately give a sense of who and what we are, why we stick together. As is usually the case, the schedule proved rather tight and we had to scramble in order to put something together in a relatively short amount of time. So I asked everyone to record about a minute of audio, something personal about their relationship with photography, the collective… Material I’d be using as the main thread throughout the film, the backbone. It sounds easy enough but we don’t often stop to think about “why” we do what we do and I believe this proved to be an interesting exercise for all of us, forcing us to reflect on a subject we don’t necessarily question all that often. In fact, it triggered an emotional upheaval we hadn’t expected: our friend and colleague Craig Litten, faced with this forced introspection, realized his life had taken a different course and decided to move on; mirrors sometimes send back images quite different than the one we expect...

The project was of course completed but with one compromise: there was no time to create an original soundtrack, so the film was edited on songs and music for which we didn’t have the rights. This is par for the course in this day and age of video sharing but as creatives, we all take licensing issues very seriously; you can’t expect others to respect your rights if you trample on them yourself. So we agreed that the film would remain private until a new soundtrack could be added.

Fast forward a couple of months: Charlene Winfred joins the group. Perfect opportunity to recut the video, dive into creating an original soundtrack and finally get this ready for public release. Here it is.

For the techies out there:

  • The video was entirely edited in Apple Motion 5.
  • The score was written, composed and recorded in Apple Logic Pro X. All audio elements were also assembled and finalized in Logic. 

A lot of work overall but it’s nice to sit back and finally have something to explain this project.
Plus: now you’ll know how to pronounce the name too :) 

In Praise Of The Camera You Have

In Praise Of The Camera You Have

It took me a while to figure out why I was often really nervous before a portrait shoot, especially if it was for a new client, in a new location, or with lighting gear I hadn’t used before – until I realised the nerves I was feeling were entirely familiar, and something I’d felt before: years ago, as an actor waiting to go on.  Stage fright.  I was worried about my performance in the role of ‘photographer’ on this set...

Running With The Pack


The grip tightens as the countdown begins. Dogs bark and howl in anticipation of the race ahead. It's bitter cold in the Cairngorm mountains of northern Scotland as the competitors take positions and ready themselves for speed.

Every year in the dead of winter they meet and race. Sledges if there is enough snow, wheels when not. The temperature is minus a few fingers below freezing and the snow is coming in sideways at certain points of the day, but the dogs seem to love it for all of that and more. This is what they do best and they know what is expected of them. They're pulling their master to the finish line. They're running with the Pack.

De Camille à Amy...

Text and photography by Vincent Baldensperger

Amy sculpte, dessine et peint, le sens de la vie au bout des doigts, Amy a de nombreux enfants. Chacun a son caractère, ses reflets sous le soleil, tous sont nés de l'élégance et d'une sensibilité rare. Marqués du sceau de leur créatrice, façonnés du bout des doigts à l'instinct, suivant plutôt les traces de Camille que de Rodin, ils habitent cet atelier, s'observent, se parlent en silence.

Matière vivante, la petite dernière est d'ébène pour la teinte, fragile encore sous les gestes d'Amy qui l'observe sans relâche, lui dessine délicatement le profil de l'enfance, révèle ses traits et sa personnalité, offrant enfin à la vie et en musique ce nouveau petit prodige, émotion pure sculptée de mains de maître…

Amy sculpts, draws, paints; life's meaning at her fingertips. Amy has many children, each with its own character, its own reflections under the sun, all borne of a rare elegance and sensibility. Marked by their creator, moulded by instinct, more Camille than Rodin, they inhabit the studio, observing, speaking in silence.

Already alive, the youngest is of ebony, still fragile under Amy's gestures as she observes her, delicately shaping an infant's profile, revealing  traits and personality. Bringing to life and music a new being—pure emotion from the hands of a master...

Charlene Winfred Joins KAGE COLLECTIVE

Photograph by Flemming Bo Jensen

Photograph by Flemming Bo Jensen

Text by Patrick La Roque

Situations can sometimes be too obvious, people too close for us to notice. Scratch that… Not so much notice as consider, for different reasons—usually the wrong kind.

For over a year now we had been witnesses, glancing over Flemming’s shoulder as he traveled the world with Charlene at his side, two gypsy warriors stumbling through dives and deserts, raves and rodeos. We had been watching from front row seats as both of them pushed and pulled one another, listening to Flemming’s voice but also hearing Charlene murmur in the background, moving closer and closer every single day… A whisper to a scream.

Today we are very proud and excited to welcome Charlene Winfred as the newest member of KAGE COLLECTIVE. She is an official X-Photographer, a speaker, writer and born storyteller whose voice we are thrilled to be adding to our own.

We believe her work speaks for itself but we do wish to make one thing abundantly clear: this is not a membership by association. We take our group and its dynamic very seriously and if anything the nature of that relationship held us back for quite awhile. But when the topic of Charlene’s membership was finally discussed, the reaction was immediate and unanimous: we look forward to her ideas, her vision and the stories she will tell. We’re pretty sure you will too. 

Plus, we finally get to dissolve our boys club—and not a minute too soon… ;)

You can find Charlene’s portfolio here.
More to come.

Note: We never made a formal announcement but our colleague Craig Litten decided to leave the group as we were preparing a video presentation for the Photon festival last April, which took us by surprise. Craig is pursuing other projects and we totally respect his decision. He remains a good friend whose voice is sorely missed.

For Joaquin

In a small corner of Buenos Aires is La Recoleta Cemetery.  A huge mausoleum of many thousands of souls.

I strolled, one day, through the gates and into this ethereal world.  The tombs of many of the rich, famous and notable members of Argentine society are here.

You can see them.  The tombs of the famous that is. Surrounded by tourists snapping away.  The resting place of Eva Perón is here.  Her tomb is polished, immaculate and rightly so, daubed with flowers every day from grateful Argentinians and benevolent foreigners.

Move around, away from the crowds, and I became lost in this city of the dead.  Crypts from as far back as 1822 line every walkway.  There are no road signs here.  There are no messages of information telling you where to go.  Each passageway has a final turn, each path is the final stop.

I felt discernibly uncomfortable looking endlessly at these bedrooms of the lost.  My own mortality and that of my loved ones was featuring in my mind. 

Many of the tombs have been forgotten and left to ruin.  Broken glass, litter and graffiti lead one's eye to the rotten remains of the caskets.  Aged photographs, dirty urns for pets and tiny urns for once-loved children huddle in the corners, comforting one another into eternity, abandoned generations ago.

Wander further, past the glitz and the bronze statue protected tombs of past literary giants, beyond the multi storey statues set to commemorate great Argentinian leaders and I found Joaquin.

Joaquin b2006 – d2011.


Not many people will visit this place and notice Joaquin. Not many will mourn for him or wonder, as I have, about his story. All little boys are loved. No little boy should be forgotten.

Remember Joaquin, and others, as you remember Evita and the others.

Solstice | A Group Project


For me it was an arctic cold morning and the sun had yet to rise. I fired up my iPhone and said hello to the guys who were online... I remember Bert saying he was sitting at the edge of a damp forest, a new hunter on his first big game outing. Derek was wandering through a dark, overcast afternoon and Robert had already enjoyed the warm onset of summer. Realities.

On December 21st 2014, all seven of us left our homes—wherever we were—and headed out with our cameras in tow. We were in different time zones, different seasons at various times of day or night and we'll be doing it all over again come June—the project is SOLSTICE.

The concept of a common project has been on the table ever since we first began imagining this collective. It only made sense. But geographical constraints, individual schedules and commitments, it all ended up constantly pushing any ideas to the sidelines. Over time, we also realized we didn't necessarily want to be bound by a single topic or anything that would force an agenda down the road. We wanted this first group project to reflect the work we had done so far; a tapestry more than a manifesto.

The symbolic nature of the solstice is extremely rich in meaning: it is at once the apex and the lowest point, both hemispheres plunging into either darkness or light. Historically and culturally it is the rise and the fall, the beginning or the end of a new cycle. Its very nature is governed by shadows, incoming or outgoing—something we've chosen to define ourselves by through our name. It felt like the perfect unifying theme.

We imposed no guidelines beyond the calendar date itself, no goal or motive beyond synchronicity. These are to be snapshots of where and who we were on the longest and shortest days of the year: the last solstice of 2014 and the first of 2015. Seven photographers searching their individual landscapes, aware of others on the exact same journey.

Obviously the project isn't over and until it is we won't really know what form it'll ultimately take; but we wanted to let you in on the secret and share some of the images with you. 
More to come.