All images from Just Loomis.com
Last week I found myself in desperate need of inspiration. I have had external issues that have stalled my story with Katie and that left me feeling pretty depressed truth be told. I visited the National Gallery of Victoria which is my go to place when I need to be revived. The gallery has a gift shop ( of course!) and a decent collection of photographic books. The current state of photography means that I usually pick up the same titles from the same master photographers to be inspired. So many of the contemporary artists are creating images that could not be further from my interest, I get more from looking at the same few works over and over.
There was a book on display called "As we are"by a photographer I had never heard of -Just Loomis.
I picked it up, sat down and started flicking through the pages. When I came up for air and hour had passed. Loomis images are dreamy, beautiful, cinematic and honest. There is a love for the people he photographs that translates into his photographs. One of his series " servers " sees him pointing his camera at the women that bring us our coffee, freezing them for stares we would be too uncomfortable to afford them in real life. He captures a glamour and beauty in his portraits of everyday people that is beyond remarkable.
Loomis was a big time fashion photographer ( and student of Helmut Newton) who decided it was time he focused on his personal projects and has been documenting America ever since. Taking that level of techincal excellence used in fashion photography and translating it to documentary work that relies on more than the beauty of the person in the photography is no mean feat, but what Loomis has done is taken the best of both genres and fused them, creating something all of his own.
The image above of the little boy with the gun- now that was taken in a video arcade. Loomis has used his photography to freeze that moment where a chubby baby faced boy becomes a reluctant hero, at least in his own mind.