I finally get mentioned in the Guardian, and they misspell my damn name!
On the other hand, I also have the honor of being asked to write the introduction to Lochai’s new book “Occupied”. I decided to include it here, as well:
Lochai disgusts me.
I came to this realization last fall at the Austin Rope Symposium. I was sitting in the audience as he presented a slideshow of his new work, image after image in black and white showing the kind of casual elegant composition that, like good makeup, you don’t really notice because it simply looks right. He was bantering with the audience as they gave their reactions to the images, and the room was filled with laughter mixed with appreciative gasps as the next image would come up.
It hit me when an image of the stunning Mayan Lee came up, the very shot you can see on page 43 of this book. Lochai made some offhand comments about the ropework, the signature knot that formed the centerpiece of the densely complex corset and body harness, about Mayan’s professionalism and the joy he’d had in photographing her. That’s when I realized it.
He’s a phenomenal rigger. He’s a skilled photographer. He’s a consummate performer. He’s an educator, a writer, a political activist.
And to top it all off, he’s a hell of a nice guy.
As you page through the images in this book, there’s a quality about the images that you may miss the first time through, and that’s fine; these are images of beauty, and should be taken as such on the first viewing. But I think it’s worth a second look, so that you can see that quality of Lochai that is in the images.
You’ll notice it in the model’s faces, whether they are smiling at the camera, or simply looking in the mirror, oblivious to the eye of the lens. It’s a level of comfort, of trust, of enjoyment in the company of the man behind the lens. And what his eye is capturing is a shared joy in their company, not just in the lovely lines of their bodies but in their personalities, their presence.
Not that Lochai is shy about his love of sexuality. In some circles, he is known as the “Polite Pervert”, who will give his partners the goofy grin that makes them laugh even as he is making them helpless in rope. But it’s this acceptance of himself, of his authentic love of what he does, that makes the people he works with so comfortable.
This combination of trust and authenticity brings something to these photographs that is rarely seen in fine art photography. It is intimacy, two people sharing the beauty of a moment together. Captured in the lens, Lochai shares it with the rest of us, adding something to the beauty of the world and for just a moment drawing us into that moment with them.
We need more moments like that, all of us.
Thank you, Lochai.
February 3, 2006
Graydancer is a rope artist and podcaster whose work can be found at www.graydancer.com/ropeweekly. He interviewed Lochai for the February 1, 2006 show, which can be found in his archive.