Notwithstanding their documentary realism, the pictures of Claes Löfgren open up the world and hem you in. I admire Claes’ pictures since they have that power to make me see the world of wine anew, to experience it again with ‘a sense of surprise’.
There are times Claes Löfgren uses his camera to catch reality in flagrante delicto – like the leg shot of the otherwise always prim-and-proper-photographed Anne-Claude from Domaine Leflaive, known to many as ‘the greatest white wine estate in the world’. This picture, like others, may appear to be a snatch-and-grab affair, a raid on ‘the live moment’, or it may be a natural, inherent cinematographic skill honed whilst travelling the world of wine.
If it’s true that each photograph is a lexicon of light and dark, then Löfgren gives us a wide spectrum of which I love the lightstock of European cellars and vineyards the most.
No matter where I’ve been or go next, I always experience the world of wine around me and its people as a convivial affair. It’s when I look back at landscape photographs that I witness the light dissimilate the life in cold and damp European vineyards from that in the New World. Is it my imagination or does it seem to bend away in the Old World from cheer and joy to capture the heroism of viticulture instead?
However, the exposure triangle light-lens-subject becomes far less disimmilated in cellars, especially when winemakers present themselves to the camera. There’s Claes’ picture of fine wine producer Franz Traxler. Little does the man know that the still shall undercut as well as underscore his reputation by showing him resting with a humble tumbler poured from a jug. And, how about that moment so tender – or as some will say, silly – of influential Hungarian winemaker Attila Gere listening to the fermentation in one of his vats; like a father-to-be resting one ear on his pregnant wife’s belly?
Random excellence solicited, staged and surpassed!
About Claes Löfgren
Swedish wine saw its first, modest beginnings only in the late 1990s but Landet lagom’s photographer Claes Löfgren has been capturing the wide world of wine and spirits excessively for decades. The last twenty years he has composed an immensely vast archive.
Mountain high, valley low, from the world’s highest vineyard to vines near the sea, Claes has shot it all. He has visited most wine-producing countries and his work got published in most major wine magazines. Löfgren’s stunning pictures are also featured in the award-winning book by Bengt-Göran Kronstam entitled ‘Vinets Magi’ (The Magic of Wine).
He is a member of the Swedish Wine Writers Association and the Circle of Wine Writers (UK) and FIJEV. Claes lives in Stockholm with his wife and two children.