Michelle Luke Captures the Agony and Ecstasy of Romantic Love
The agony. The ecstasy. The anticipation. The tension climbs, tightens, crescendos, until a cigarette arrives to whisk the pain away, if only temporarily. In her Isolated Lovers series, photographer Michelle Luke captures the exquisite anguish of waiting for a lover, their presence unassured, their affections infinitely capricious.
“How fragile we all are in these moments,” she says of her penetrating work. “The ego laid bare in an attempt to connect—to achieve intimacy. No one escapes this.” Like many of Michelle’s photo narratives, Isolated Lovers is divided into two distinct stories that follow each lonely lover in their angst. Shot in poetic black and white, “Waiting: Her Story” trails a woman through an empty park as she idles, clad in black, on a bench. The second narrative, “Waiting: His Story,” stalks a dark, handsome man as he window gazes, wrings his hands, and bows his head.
“My theme is always lovers,” writes Michelle, who photographs her subjects with tender curiosity. Her camera lingers over soft curves, dark, mossy hair, and matted, sooty eyelashes. “Love is sacred,” she insists. “And the intimate relationship shared by lovers is distinct. It provides the most transformative interaction humans can experience.”
Taking inspiration from European art and culture, Michelle infuses Isolated Lovers with a certain je ne sais quoi, costuming her subjects in simple, sophisticated clothing. Like a French New Wave film, Isolated Lovers flirts with anxiety, absurdity, and the emptiness of modern love, ultimately offering more questions than answers. Still, Michelle believes that love “provides our greatest commonality in humanity.” She continues: “We all need love. Love is the source of everything.”
Waiting: Her Story
Waiting: His Story
All photos published with permission of the artist(s).
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