A globetrotting travel, fashion and lifestyle photographer whose work has been featured in Elle France, Condé Nast Traveller and many other magazines, Laucht is used to working with state-of-the-art digital or analogue cameras. But something about her photographer dad’s old Spotmatic fascinated her, and she would occasionally pull it out while on assignment and shoot some personal stuff “as an aside, when I was on these larger work trips”.
Laucht accumulated bagfuls of unprocessed film. It was only when the first lockdown came around in 2020 that she decided to send them away to be developed. When the photographs came back, she realized that she had stumbled on a passion project, one revolving around “a body of work that for me was an exploration of what summer means”.
Many of these photos, to which Laucht gave the collective title ‘Spirit of Summer’, were shot on the Italian coast. Italy is a place, the photographer says, “where my senses just feel sharpened”. She also loves the way the country’s beach culture reveals the national character. “In the UK it’s all windbreaks and thermos flasks”, she points out with a laugh, “whereas in Italy it’s all-over tans and tiny little swimming trunks”.
Laucht began to offer some of her Spirit of Summer shots as analogue prints on her website, and she was amazed by the response: “I think there was a real appeal in the transportive nature of some of those images… they seemed to really resonate with people”.
Among the admirers of Lucy’s work were a couple she had been introduced to some years previously, Antonio and Carla Sersale of Le Sirenuse. In September 2021, at their invitation, she spent a week capturing the late summer beach scene in and around Positano. She ended up shooting around sixty rolls of film, both on that paternal Pentax and on her own Leica M6. In the end, just eight negatives were chosen by Carla and Lucy to form a limited series of hand-signed, A2-size prints called ‘Positano Blues’. Each photograph is printed on heavyweight, environmentally friendly museum- grade paper with archival pigment inks.
Three of these sets are to be offered for sale at Il Negozio, the section of the Emporio Sirenuse online store dedicated to Le Sirenuse memories and memorabilia, while the others will be sold via Laucht’s own website. In both cases, a portion of each print sale will be donated to Choose Love Help Refugees, an NGO that provides humanitarian aid to and advocacy for refugees, most recently those fleeing from the current war in Ukraine.
Laucht loves the “natural graininess” of film, the way that, unlike digital, it brings a “soft focus in certain areas”. Asked to list some of the main influences on her style, the British photographer cites Ralph Crane, Slim Aarons, the films of Paolo Sorrentino, and “old copies of Holiday magazine from the fifties, sixties and seventies, which I collect”.
Bringing a new sensibility to a much-photographed part of the world and working exclusively with natural light, Laucht aims, she explains, to “tell an incredibly iconic story in a different way”.
Although she has opted for black and white in some of her previous Spirit of Summer photographs, Laucht believes that “Positano calls for colour… just think of the incredible pastel hues that you see cascading down the mountainside, or the way that, when you look out from the terrace of Le Sirenuse, you see the blues of the sea change over the course of the day”. Everything in this curated collection reflects, she says, “those changing blues, the subtle hues of Positano”.
Il Negozio Le Sirenuse: https://emporiosirenuse.com/collections/il-negozio-le-sirenuse
Lucy Laucht: www.lucylaucht.com
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