David Luraschi’s sensual ode to human intimacy
In his hypnotic new book, Ensemble, photographer David Luraschi explores human intimacy and untamed nature
David Luraschi’s subjects never face the camera. But anonymity, if anything, only intensifies the intimacy.
In his latest series, Ensemble – which is now a book published by Loose Joints – a pair of nude bodies fuse, overlap and interlock – we are voyeurs to this carefully choreographed dance, which is at once uncomfortable, sensual and electric.
Beyond the carnal mood, there is a melancholy to be found which douses the pair in a charming bleakness. As they frolic in the sand, submerge their bodies in the water, and embrace to the point where individuality becomes almost irrelevant, we are reminded of the last 18 months, in which the pandemic drained the life from human intimacy. Ensemble, which translates as ‘together’, is an ode to the power of touch, and a eulogy for a life without it.
For the series, shot over two days, the French-American photographer took to the windswept Provençal wetlands of the Camargue: Europe’s largest river delta, to the west of Marseille and south of Arles. This is a region of vast salt flats, untamed nature and uninhabited wildness. It is expansive and desolate, furnished only with apocryphal myths, vagabond settlers, flamingoes and wild horses.
Aside from the introduction of unexpected props – a shabby chair and a parasol – the couple are alone with their environment, which eventually swallows them.
Ensemble is the result of a collaboration and friendship – between Luraschi, fashion designer Simon Porte Jacquemus, who commissioned the work, and dancers Claire Tran and Paul Girard. It was initially conceived as a photo story for Jacquemus’ Autumn/Winter 2017 collection, titled L’amour d’un Gitan, but has been revisited as a creation in its own right by Sarah Piegay Espenon and Lewis Chaplin of Loose Joints. The limited-edition book marks the opening of Loose Joints’ bookshop in Marseille, also titled Ensemble.
The pace of this series is glacial, the landscape hypnotic, the couple at one with each other, and their environment. Their anonymity keeps us guessing, but their intimacy keeps them human. §