Artist Blog

Every week an artist whose single image was published by Der Greif is given a platform in which to blog about contemporary photography.

Friendships & encounters : Sarah Lowie

Nov 01, 2017 - Rebecca Topakian

Sixmille,

Sixmille is the post code of Charleroi. An ancient industriel city in Belgium, called “The black city”. Formely covered in coal dust, Charleroi is particular, stange, awkward. A small town where almost everybody knows each other. And here I am, coming from the outside.

 

I met Sarah Lowie last summer during Les Rencontres d’Arles 2017. We were renting a house with my friends Christopher de Béthune and Romain Pruvost (Classe Moyenne éditions, who is publishing my book <3), and she was our fourth flatmate. One of our first conversation was about love and love stories. Chris told me about her book and I could not wait to see it, which she presented and signed at the Tipi Bookshop table. I asked her what her book was about. And she told me this incredible story of her falling in love with a rapper in Charleroi, and leaving everything to live with him and his friends in their squat for a few months. “A universe completely different from what I used to know. They made me come with them, knowing I was a photographer. I came back the next weekend, and the weekend after that… Then everytime I could. I started to live with them. To follow their routine, to enter in their privacy. And their daily life. It became mine. I became one of their. They became my family. A world made of parties, lies, laughs, weed, troubles, excitements, manipulations, betrayals, dreams and derision, alcohol… A world built around the present moment. We were enjoying life, fully.” This part of her life seems to be out of reality, full of excitement, joy but also violence, everything catalyzed in a squat in Charleroi. “A way more authentic world then the one I knew before. Intense (…) A world that challenges everything.” What I loved about her book was the sincerity, the humble honesty about it. Her pictures are not of high technicity, nor they answer to pre-made categories of photography (what personal diary aesthetic should be ; what documentary aesthetic should be ; what photoreportage looks like, etc) : she photographed with instinct, offering to the viewer this object that does not fill any categories, halfway between diary and documentary, like her position : exterior and yet part of the squat.

 

Sarah Lowie studied Photography, screenprinting and engraving at 75 in Brussels, Belgium and during her last year she SIXMILLE. In June 2016, she exhibited for the first time SIXMILLE in Contretype. The work has also been showed in “Boutographies” in Montpellier.