A Sporting Life




  • No.018
  • 『A Sporting Life』 Jacques Henri Lartigue
  • TUESDAY, 18th DECEMBER, 2013 by Yoshiyuki Morioka

Looking at Lartigue’s pictures, I’m fully convinced that there is a limit to how much you can enjoy life.
Lartigue was born in 1894 into a wealthy banker family. (He was born the same year as the previously featured Kuki Shuzo.) Lartigue, supposedly having lead a sophisticated life since he was a child, received a camera from his father as a present for his 8th birthday. It is well known that cameras at that time cost as much as a house. Lartigue started capturing his world then. In his entire life he took about 160,000 photographs.

In his book, there are photographs of sports. For example, skiing, skating, sledding, tennis, sea-swimming, swimming, boating, bicycling, cars, planes, and horse racing. Every time I look at these pictures, I feel that he understood the art of enjoying all of the actions of sledding, batting, swimming, rowing, riding, jumping, flying and so on.

Luckily for the history of photography is that a person with the same sense as Lartigue and the time in which machines were an extension of human’s arms and legs existed at the same time. Even though I’ve seen them many times, I never tire of seeing them is because not only are the structures of the machines interesting but also because of the sense of euphoria of the new generation in them that Lartigue himself surely felt at the time. “Taking photographs is enjoying my existence and gazing at my world,” said Lartigue.

Among the many actions, what Lartigue enjoyed the most was of course without a doubt “taking photographs”.