London Photographic Association Awards
Let's Face It 7. Gold Winner
Luca Sage won Gold in the single image category of Let's Face It: 7. Luca is a portraiture specialist and his work has been selected for many prizes, including the prestigious Taylor Wessing Prize (four times.).
"My winning entry was part of a wider series based on sport in a country which is in and out of conflict," says Luca, "The image itself was taken in a city called Bouake - the second largest city in Côte d'Ivoire. The Ivory Coast is renowned for producing great football players. The initial reason I went out to the country was to focus on the football academies they have there. One school in particular - ASEC Mimosas in Abidjan - produces many stars. I found the other academies to be poorly funded and existing on passion more than anything else. And I think this passion is the reason behind my image's strength. You can see how determined they are to play.
"Football is everywhere in African countries and I wanted to create a strong image of the power that football has. What you don't often see are real team shots coming out of Africa because of the belief that it is disorganised and behind the times in contemporary football. It isn't though - they put as much effort into football (if not more) than most European countries.
"The French coach at ASEC Mimosas Academy told all his boys to get their boots off for my portraits but I said "no, it's too stereotypical, people will then think that nobody has boots in Africa". But he told me he makes his athletes train without boots because it makes their feet stronger."
Luca studied Social Anthropology at the University of Wales and then went on to study Photography at University of Brighton, gaining a first class honours degree. Since then he has assisted in the fashion world and shot for clients including The Telegraph Magazine, The Guardian on Saturday, Independent on Sunday Review, Telegraph Arts Review, Monocle Magazine, ARISE Magazine, the BBC and UNICEF.
Luca tells us about some of his most memorable commissions: the Ice Cream World Cup in Italy for Monocle magazine, and shooting in Sicily and South Africa for Hackett. "Perhaps my hardest commission was being sent to The Food Doctor to grab a great shot of the man at work in his kitchen," he says. "I imagined a huge kitchen with mountains of vegetables and fruit but was greeted by a tiny kitchen with a few carrots in the fridge. Not a great way to start shooting for the Telegraph. My Malawi and Ivory Coast series have been the most fun. Nothing beats shooting on the road with a 5x4 camera."
Luca is in the process of putting together his new book to show clients. "It has not been easy with the state of the industry," he says. "And the birth of my son took up a lot of my time, but as he's getting older I am getting back to normality. I hope to move into more commercial work for the likes of Nike and Adidas.
"I always have ideas and projects in my head, the aim is to get funding for these projects. My future projects, aims, travel plans and exhibitions all roll into one goal: to fund my next portraiture series. Shooting for Nike would be a great start!"
Luca's LPA Folio
London Photographic Association Portraiture Awards Book 2011