Still Life Awards
LPA member Luke Smith was awarded Gold in the Single Image category with this simple, stark image simply titled "Life". He tells us more about the story behind the winning image.
"With this image - which was specifically created for the competition - I wanted to portray a sentiment of decay," he said. "I hoped to highlight how life can be a precious and wonderful thing but that death is always the hunter and that, wherever we go or whatever we do, it is always closing in on us."
Luke is a second year LCC student studying a BA (Hons) in photography and is beginning to look for an agent to represent him. He was recently part of the AOP Student Exhibition 2011 where he was a Merit Winner in the competition with four of his "Isolation" images.
"I find entering competitions such as the Still Life: 5 very exciting and challenging," he said, "as it can push you in directions you may not be familiar with, which in my case is Still Life. I admire the work of Irvin Penn - in particular his still life images - so when this LPA competition opened I thought this would be an exciting challenge for me. It pushed me out of my comfort zone, which is predominately tableaux."
Luke is currently working on an on-going project regarding isolation in the elderly. "Isolation is not an inevitable side-effect of the ageing process, but the life events associated with older age can leave people vulnerable," he explained. "More than one million people in the UK are suffering the misery of isolation. The charity Help the Aged's research discovered that nearly half a million pensioners only leave their houses once a week, and a further 300,000 are entirely housebound.
"Through this the project, I am addressing the issue of isolation within the elderly by symbolic representation. With each image, the elderly person faces away from the viewer, revealing the subject's absorption and denying the presence of the viewer. By taking away the means of identification, the subject becomes severed from the image and isolated from the activity being observed. The construction of each image is created by a number of images merged into one. I did this to create a confrontational experience based on fragments and contradictions. By violating spatial logic I have attempted to load each image with the symbolic representation of isolation."
Luke would like the work to be commissioned by one of the charities representing the elderly. "I believe the work identifies well with this current issue and think it could help in getting the message across to a wider audience," he said.
At the beginning of September, Luke will be part of a group show at The Print Space in London, joining other photographers who sell their work as part of a community on The Affordable Photography Emporium site. He is also in the process of creating a charity event with four other student photographers, scheduled for late September 2011, to raise funds for the recent disasters in Japan.