Angels of Time


Lukas Roels (°1957, Ghent, Belgium) originally studied photography at the Academy of Arts in Ghent. After some months he left the program, and thanks to self-study, some exams before an exam commission and internships at various photographers’ studios, he managed to become a photographer himself. After a brief career as a press photographer, a job that he thought quite unfulfilling at the time, he started working as a professor. He teaches at several schools and leads workshops for children, youngsters and adults. He only takes on projects very rarely, and he almost exclusively works as an artist His trademark is the specific use of available (day)light. As a principle, Lukas never uses a flash. He evaluates the light and then uses it to his purpose with masterful skill.


Lukas has had exhibitions all over the world, even as far as Melbourne. In his home country, he is far less known because his work, and specifically the recent series 'Angels of Time' is considered to be very controversial. To make the ‘Angels of Time‘ series, Lukas Roels made nude photographs of children of different ages. This resulted in beautiful and sober black and white pictures, with topics such as melancholy, candidness, wishes and dreams, time and evanescence. In his remarkable quest for androgyny, he wants to go beyond gender and to picture the universal beauty of a young body. The nudity of children is therefore not sexual, they do not hide anything or provoke. They are just there: self-assured, and sometimes a tad mischievous, but always innocent. They demand to be watched with one and the same look. For some viewers, this is difficult, because these are pictures. It seems to be a more demanding task than to watch statues or paintings. In its essence, however, there is no difference. A picture is just as well an abstraction of reality, and is realized in a similar fashion. There is someone who poses, and there is the artist who makes his eternal and always imperfect attempt to capture time and beauty.


Lukas' pictures strike the eye thanks to their disarming beauty: a rugged setting that contrasts with a delicate body, the discerning choice of image elements and a typical and extremely sensitive use of scarce day light and deep shadows result in a very poetic imagery language. An Australian photographer friend said it this way: 'what I like about your work is the way you capture light and your subject within it.'


Anne Longerstaey