issue024

Fortress

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By Patrick La Roque

I sit on a beach thousands of miles from home. I hear waves and their undying flux, like claws of the eternal, grinding. I hear id and ego battling it out, the persona emerging...you are the loner it says, you are content. No. The truth is, I die a small death without the presence of others.

I am not the fortress I once thought I was.

If they let us linger, we steal atoms from those around us. We ingest particles through osmosis, feeding on thoughts and energy and light. And when darkness falls we consume it whole as well.
Soft-spoken vampires
eyes and ears and teeth to the ready
yet giving as we take.

I am not the fortress I once thought I was.

I could fly to the ends of the earth but nothing would ever fill me the way you do. And so I rush the rush of mad machine horses, legs pumping in a cloud of blistering steam. I tear at the sky and asphalt with my mouth, pull them apart until this void is closed and distant.

I am not the fortress I once thought I was.

Signs Of Life

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PHOTOGRAPHY & TEXT BY DEREK CLARK

I held my sister up as she waited for her final pill of the day, the eighteenth. We were alone and she looked at me and shook her head. I asked her why she was shaking her head and her reply was “What kind of life is this?”. 
This was the first time she sounded like she'd had enough and I struggled to muster an argument for the defence. But before I found one she said: “I suppose it's a life”. I nodded my head, unable to speak. But this time was not because I didn’t have an answer, but because emotion hit me in the back of the throat without warning. Emotion that chokes your words and throws out awkward silence for all present to endure.

It doesn’t seem that long ago that I was chatting to Steve and his wife Amanda about alternative treatments that he and my sister could/should try. We were at Photo Talks, which Steve ran with Phil Paine in St Albans. I had flown down and had the honour of being the final speaker on the final night. Photo Talks had been a great success, but due to Steve’s cancer diagnosis and Phil’s imminent move to Wales, it was coming to an end.

Shortly after that, we invited Steve to be a guest writer/photographer on our June 2017 issue. Steve’s essay was called ‘I Live To See Another Day’ and as it turns out, was published one year before his death. Steve was already writing his personal blog and telling his very private story in a very public way. He showed great bravery and courage in that blog and It’s well worth sitting down with a coffee and reading Steve’s story in his own words. 
My heart sank when I read the following words in his post titled ‘Playing To The Gallery’.

“My liver is failing. This is the end game, and this will be my last post. Nobody can quite believe it, but I know I have days not weeks.”

That indeed was Steve’s final post, but his work will live on for many years, which thankfully we will be able to consume soon. Neale James is in the final stage of editing a documentary film about Steve which will be coming really soon. Books of Steve's work are already in the pipeline too.

**UPDATE** The film by Neale James can be found at the foot of this page.

Cancer is the worst of diseases, but it brings out the best in people. I see it all around me right now. My parents and my brother in law rise to new heights each day with their compassion, strength, love and unwavering commitment. Falling apart will have to wait for another day because today is about care.

Human kindness is overflowing,
but I think it’s going to rain today
— Randy Newman

P.s.
I’m not sure this set of pictures fits with the text. My idea, as the title says, was to show signs of life without actually having any people in the pictures. I also wanted to take a walk in the streets with my camera, as Steve did in his final months and made sure to include a few bikes as Steve was a keen cyclist.

UPDATE 21st July 2018

This is the film by Neale James that I mentioned above.

The Dark Side of the Camera

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BY BERT STEPHANI

Unfortunately I never met Steve but his guest post on KAGE definitely struck more than one chord with me and the sad news of Steve leaving this earth made me think. 
As photographers we all want to live on in our work, well I know I do. We try to preserve everything: the youth of our children, life events, fashion, our friends, loved ones, our environment and how it changes over time ... everything. But what about ourselves, the dark side of the camera? Sure, every picture is to a certain degree a self portrait of the photographer but it is not a picture of ourselves. I don't care too much if there won't be a picture of me in 50 or 100 years. But maybe my children or their children would like to have at least some document of how I looked. Hey, maybe in thirty years, I would like to see how I looked as a middle aged man. 

I've never been into self portraiture much although I find it very interesting to see from others. But although there are billions of people that I'd rather photograph than myself, I'm going to make an effort to do an occasional self portrait. I had to dig deep in my archives to find some that I actually like. 

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Thx Steve for being Steve. You have made your mark on a Belgian photographer you've never met, I can only imagine what an amazing influence you must still be to those close to you. 

For Granted

On the day of Steve's memorial, I was in Brighton with Patrick.  Unfortunately, I could not possibly attend and will pay my respects another time.

At 12:30pm, Neale James, who was also with us, tapped me and muttered "It's now".

Incongruously, today is my daughters 10th birthday and tomorrow is my parents 50th wedding anniversary. 

As I always say to my questioning children, the world will always spin, but sometimes things fall off.  And that's sad.  But mostly, things are good and whilst we celebrate Steve's life in memorial form, we must also celebrate the beauty of ongoing life, love and laughter.

I thought about what to post here, image wise, and decided that I would honour Steve in the way I think he would approve of.  

Just some random pictures, of the 48 hours around his memorial.


On Being

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Words and Photography by Jonas Rask

This essay isn’t easy for me. Loss and sorrow never is. 

I deal with life and death in the healthcare system every day, but that’s in a professional setting. That’s when I’m prepared and at guard. I put on the semi-permeable emotional shield, that protects my inner fragility. These things hurt. Every goddamn time. Even for a doctor like myself, who is confronted with it on a daily basis, they hurt like hell. Some more than others, but they do hurt! 

Steve Shipman's passing after a longtime fight with cancer is obviously something that touches us here at KAGE. I didn’t know Steve personally. I loved his photography, I read his blog, but I never reached out on a personal level. But in the context of things, that doesn’t really matter, 'cause the loss is a great one. He was an inspirator par excellence, and he touched many people through his art, including myself. 

We talked about the theme of this issue and the title that came up was “On Being Here - For Steve” - I gave some good thought into what I wanted to do photographically for this issue, and I decided on a portrait series shot in 6x6 on analogue medium format just like Steve did with his portraiture. Unfortunately the 7 portraits I had done got lost during a bad development session yesterday. So the portraits went down the drain...  

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Having to rethink the entire thing with less than 24 hours until deadline, is one of those situations that you really don’t want to find yourself in. Nonetheless that is what happened. 

I took the liberty to do a complete shift in expression. Instead of me portraying strangers with no emotional affiliation to my life, or Steve's for that matter, I decided on sharing some shots of the one thing that I know mattered most to him:

Family.

I cannot speak on behalf of Steve, but I can speak for me when I say that family is everything. They bring me all the emotions that I can experience as a human being. The entire spectrum. 

When the feeling of loss and sadness takes a toll on my mind, the feelings of hope, innocence and happiness always prevail when I see my kids at play and look into the eyes of my wife. 

This is what “being here” is all about for me. Being here, for Steve, everyday enjoying life with those around me that matters the most. 
Here’s to you and your loved ones Steve.

Photogravie

BY VINCENT BALDENSPERGER

PHOTOGRAPHIER, C’EST UNE ATTITUDE
UNE FACON D’ETRE, UNE MANIERE DE VIVRE.
— Henri Cartier-Bresson

 

Pour Steve...

© Vincent Baldensperger
"Ce que la photographie reproduit à l'infini n'a lieu qu'une fois".
Roland Barthes

Ce que la Vie reproduit à l'infini n'a lieu qu'une fois.

 

© Vincent Baldensperger
"Le temps court et s'écoule et notre mort seule arrive à le rattraper.
La photographie est un couperet qui dans l'éternité saisit l'instant qui l'a éblouie".
Henri Cartier-Bresson

Le temps court et s'écoule et notre mort seule arrive à le rattraper.
La Vie est un couperet qui dans l'éternité saisit l'instant qui l'a éblouie.

 

© Vincent Baldensperger
"S'il n'y a pas d'émotion, s'il n'y a pas de choc, si on ne réagit pas à la sensibilité,
on ne doit pas prendre de photo. C'est la photo qui nous prend".
Henri Cartier-Bresson

S'il n'y a pas d'émotion, s'il n'y a pas de choc, si on ne réagit pas à la sensibilité,
on ne peut pas Vivre. C'est la Vie qui nous prend.

7x024

No Such Thing  Derek Clark | X100F, 23mm f2. 1/250 sec at f7.1, ISO 3200

No Such Thing
Derek Clark | X100F, 23mm f2. 1/250 sec at f7.1, ISO 3200

Driftwood, Bribie Island
Robert Catto | X-H1, 35mm f/1.4. 1/8000 at f/1.4, ISO 200.

Broken Fire
Jonas Rask | X100F, f/4, 1/125, ISO 5000.

Suzanne  Vincent Baldensperger | X-Pro2. | 35mm 1/125 at f/1.4, ISO 800.

Suzanne
Vincent Baldensperger | X-Pro2. | 35mm 1/125 at f/1.4, ISO 800.

Buds  Patrick La Roque | X-PRO2,  1/11000 at f/1.8, ISO 200.

Buds
Patrick La Roque | X-PRO2,  1/11000 at f/1.8, ISO 200.

National Portrait Gallery  Kevin Mullins |GFX-50S with GF45mm F2.8 Lens 1/200 @ ISO 125 F2.8

National Portrait Gallery
Kevin Mullins |GFX-50S with GF45mm F2.8 Lens 1/200 @ ISO 125 F2.8

Brussels  Bert Stephani | GFX 50S, GF110mm f/2,  1/250 @ f/2.8, ISO 200

Brussels
Bert Stephani | GFX 50S, GF110mm f/2,  1/250 @ f/2.8, ISO 200