Luc Dratwa*

22.05.2012 in13:28 in Documentary -->


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Luc Dratwa (1958) Lives and works in Brussels.
“Manhattan was asleep. Apart from a few taxis heading for Central Park, the streets were empty. The thick soles of my shoes left imprints on the wet pavements of Sixth Avenue. I had been walking for a long time; my clothes were wet through and I was cold. Steam rose from the subway through the grates in the paving. At the junction with 42nd Street, I decided to plunge into the depths of Manhattan. I sat on the platform. Alone. The rain was now no more than a distant patter. The subway was deserted.

Before long throngs of people would be trampling its tunnels, its corridors and its carriages. Without even looking.
After that I often returned to the subway at night.
It was over a year before I summoned the courage to take my Nikon with me.”

Subway, the poetry of the New York subway.
It all began with a fascinating experience of a deferred moment between sky and earth, there on the top floor of the Rockefeller Center. Even then it was New York. A cleverly framed series of windows, a succession of timeless shots, snippets of fleeting stories with no tomorrow. Luc Dratwa gradually tamed the city he now knows so well, tamed it to the point where he is able to capture its poetry, its very heartbeat. Underlying many of his photographs is a story imbued with great humanity. It breaks through a rigorousness the artist himself describes as maniacal. His new series devoted to the New York subway illustrates more clearly than ever his concern for perfection, the construction which leaves nothing to chance. The fruit of long hours of watching and waiting before the lens shoots that one image, Subway captures an underground world from which man is physically absent most of the time. And yet everything is real, terribly real, of a reality magnified by the poetry of the detail, a reality that generates a perfect balance, a harmony of lines, forms, rhythms and contrasts that is nothing short of faultless. Subway shows Luc Dratwa on top form, working his magic on image and colour, driven by a total vision which proves that beauty is everywhere, even in the metal framework of a train carriage, the perspective of a tunnel and the light of a deserted platform.
After Windows, Luc Dratwa now presents his New York Subway series. The subway as you have never seen or even imagined it before. Yet, everything is real, terribly real, of a reality magnified by the poetry of the detail and the balance.
Luc Dratwa controls his lens with a rigorousness that leaves nothing to chance. Subway reveals a harmony of lines, forms, rhythms and contrasts that is nothing short of faultless. This profound, personal vision proves that beauty is everywhere, even in the metal framework of a train carriage, the perspective of a tunnel and the light of a deserted platform.