When I first came across the photography of Loretta Lux in an issue of Aperture, I was impressed. At the time, I knew nothing about Photoshop let alone digital photography, and I mistakenly assumed a few clicks of the mouse was all it took to achieve her uncanny, surreal vision.
But now that I am somewhat more at home in the digital world, I find I have more questions than answers about this German painter-turned-photographer’s work. When pestered for the secrets behind her technique, Lux tends to deflect rather than inform. From a flat “no” to “why does it matter”, it’s clear Lux would rather have her work be judged on what it brings to the viewer rather than how it came to be.
And one cannot dismiss her selection of the subject matter itself; children. Her young models are certainly being overlooked when people set out to understand her technique. After all, there’s only so much software can do, and the more I look at her odd children, the more credit goes directly to them. Her models gaze into space with all their innocence, making even the most typical location, a park, a building or simple room into a window to another reality. Chasing down the elusive technique to her photography seems more and more futile as it is her vision, not software, that we as viewers are truly enjoying.