issue019

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

 

We Band Of Brothers

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Photography & Text By Derek Clark

Any musician that’s ever been on the road as part of a band will know just how tight a likeminded group of artists can get. We rehearse together, travel together, play together and share hotel rooms. We share ups and downs, good times and bad, through thick and thin. We get so tight with each other that we are as comfortable failing as we are at succeeding. This leads to being braver within the music, which takes you forward on your journey as a musician and as a band.

Kage Collective is a similar environment, swapping musical instruments for a camera. I can’t believe it’s been five years already. It’s also strange to think how the X-Series cameras were just making their first steps in the world. I was shooting with my original X100 in Italy when I got the message from Patrick, asking if I was interested in starting a collective with himself and a couple of other photographers. I was flattered to be asked and it was a no-brainer for me.

Just like playing with superior musicians improves your own playing tenfold, a similar thing is true with photographers. We all look up to one another in Kage and we tend to think each other's pictures are better than our own. This has a similar effect as seven horses pulling the same wagon. We move forward faster, driving each other to keep pushing forward, but always stronger as a team.

The K-factor

By bert stephani

I was a KAGE fan from the start and I couldn't believe my luck when I became a member. I still feel like a student amongst these masters of photography. I look up to every KAGE photographer past and present. For this anniversary issue I've decided to not look at what we achieved but rather look at how much impact this collective has on my work. I took a look at all the pictures that I made this year and discovered how the KAGE-factor plays in everything that I do.

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At first it was the documentary aspect of KAGE that influenced my work. I've always been a big fan of the classic documentary photo essay. Studying the work of the others and getting feedback from them on my own work, simply made me a better photographer. Having an outlet for this kind of work and a bit of pressure to regularly produce new content also gives me the experience to grow.

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Through the work of my fellow photographers I also discovered the power of what I would call first-person-documentary. Objectivity is an illusion but by being personal, at least you can bring honesty to a story. This also applies to the small personal stories. I never thought personal pictures had any value outside my own circle of family and close friends. But KAGE told me that these tiny stories often resonate with total strangers and have a documentary value on their own.

I've always seen myself as someone who likes stories to be clear and simple. But being a member of the KAGE collective has definitely pushed me to try a more artistic approach. It's sometimes frightening for a craftsman to move on to art, but isn't art about telling stories too.

Seeing all this great work from all over the world has definitely pushed me to go and explore. This can be in exotic places. But taking a different look at the familiar is often even more interesting. Exploration can be about discovering the world, but it's also about what's on the inside. The support and the open minded discussions within our group have given me the safe haven that I need to be vulnerable and express the things that I usually rather hide.

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As a photographer I need freedom and limitations at the same time. Our monthly schedule hasn't been easy to maintain but I still see that pressure as a good thing. On the other hand there's never been any discussion on what a story should be. The freedom to experiment with different forms of storytelling gives my work oxygen. This year I've decided to concentrate mainly on portraiture and the guys have been nothing but supportive to pursue this as a form of storytelling.

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The last thing I would like to talk about is the value of photography. Realising that the medium still is incredibly powerful has made me appreciate my own profession and passion even more. It also has given me the responsibility to tell the stories I really care about, stories that need to be told even if nobody is going to write you a check for them.

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There have been times when I wanted to step out of the KAGE Collective because it does require time and energy that I often don't have. But the others never let me, and I'm grateful for that. I guess we'll never be a big media outlet, we may never go viral with a story and it's probably the worst business model ever. But it's a lab where interesting ideas and people grow. It's also a meeting point where an open mind can overcome different opinions. It's a place to communicate with some of my best friends and just as important … with you. Your input, encouragements and ideas are what feed us. Thanks!

Stuck on my Eyes

By Patrick La Roque

I remember long discussions when we first began this project: about form, about gear, about subject matter. Mostly I remember how adamant we were about our freedom to simply be, to allow stories to reveal themselves without a need for linearity or a pointed commentary. We would embrace abstraction the way painters did. We would explore poetic text on the same level as we would explanation. Documentary would coexist with sensory. I can’t say we’ve fulfilled every promise we made or reached every goal we set for ourselves. But I do believe our initial premise still rings true today:

This is not about forced reality. It is not about pure reportage without intent. It is about resolute interpretations of the moment. The eye as ghost and poet and translator. We believe in interaction without interference, in rogue infiltrations borne out of respect. The image as truth and as point of view.

We vow to be shadows.
We vow to search for light.

The images below? How many times have I gazed at these rooms, at all hours of the day/year? I keep revisiting each one as new territory, of dancing shadows and subdued light play—revealing the same echoes as if again mystified. In the end we always return to what we know.

The D.J’s gone but the song remains: “...five years, stuck on my eyes.

Cinq

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Words and images by Jonas Rask

So. 5 it is. 

For the KAGE unity it’s 5 years. For me as a member it’s 5 months. 

I want to try and put into writing what this collective has meant to my photography for the past 5 years, because there is not a single entity of inspiration anywhere else in the online photographic community that has inspired me to go shoot the way that KAGE has. 

5 years ago my journey into photography was still in its infancy. I had owned an X100 for about a year, and I had just bought an X-Pro1. Those tools had ignited a flame, that I have since not been able to control. My passion for photography has since grown into an obsession. The fine gentlemen (and also woman at some point) of KAGE collective have been the foundation on which that fire got built. 

Every time I went to check out the documentary pieces of the collective, I silently in my virgin photographic mind strived for that greatness in visual storytelling.

I have marveled at Patrick’s exceptional ability to render something truly grandiose out the ordinary. I have salivated over Bert’s ability to work with little to no light and tones, and still make the most amazing low key images I’ve seen. I’ve been floored by Robert’s extremely tight photojournalism that always bring me right into the situation. I look with envy on Derek’s phenomenal environmental musical portraits that so elegantly captures the soul and essence of the subjects at hand. I always get a distinct smile to my face when I dive into Kevin’s delightful way of portraying the most life changing of situations. And I am left quite speechless when viewing Vincent’s mind-blowing tonal control over his studio portraiture and post-processing.

The individuals within KAGE have grown photographically with strong identities just as I have grown in parallel with my own photographic identity. At no point in time had I ever thought that our paths would cross, and that I would eventually end up as a member within the collective.

I still regard the images that these photographers capture as some of the very finest images that I can behold, but to be able to throw my own images into the mix and get to learn from my fellow KAGE members, on a day to day basis, through our vivid conversations is something that I am so grateful for. 

So. 5 it is. 

Let’s see what the next 5 have in store.

7x019

Double Exposure  Derek Clark | X-Pro2 - 35mm f1.4 - ISO200 - f/1.4 - 1/850 sec

Double Exposure
Derek Clark | X-Pro2 - 35mm f1.4 - ISO200 - f/1.4 - 1/850 sec

Sunset Run  Bert Stephani | GFX50S - 63mm - ISO100 - f/4 - 1/1000

Sunset Run
Bert Stephani | GFX50S - 63mm - ISO100 - f/4 - 1/1000

Shinjuku Shadow  Robert Catto | X-T2, 35mm f/1.4. 1/280 at f/10, ISO 400.

Shinjuku Shadow
Robert Catto | X-T2, 35mm f/1.4. 1/280 at f/10, ISO 400.

Dancing with Dad on my Wedding Day  Kevin Mullins | X-T2, 16mm f1.4 lens. 1/250 at f/1.4, ISO 200.

Dancing with Dad on my Wedding Day
Kevin Mullins | X-T2, 16mm f1.4 lens. 1/250 at f/1.4, ISO 200.

Lack of  Jonas Rask | GFX50s, Canon 85mm f/1.4, 1/4000, ISO 100.

Lack of
Jonas Rask | GFX50s, Canon 85mm f/1.4, 1/4000, ISO 100.

Aliya
Vincent Baldensperger | X-Pro2. 1/125 at f/2.5, ISO 100.

Electro  Patrick La Roque | GFX 50S. 1/125 at f/11, ISO 400.

Electro
Patrick La Roque | GFX 50S. 1/125 at f/11, ISO 400.