Deep Inside the Archive

Kim Thue

April 20, 2023

The enforced standstill resulting from the Covid lockdown, gave the photographer the chance to dive deep into his archives, to browse through material from the past fifteen years, and prepare a second photo book.
Lode is an impressive and powerful mixture of portraits, landscapes, nature pictures, still lifes and abstractions. A radical toss up that does not leave the viewer unmoved. For the photographer, it also represented an existential confrontation with his own body of work. Consequently, the first motif in the photo book can also be seen as symbolic: a shattered rock; the word lode also refers to the vein of ore that has been exposed in the rock. We spoke with the London-based, Danish photographer, about the making of his new book:

Ten years since your debut Dead Traffic you now return with Lode. How long did it take you to choose the images?
Kim Thue:
It’s difficult to give a precise answer as the book has lived at the back of my mind in various forms for what seems like an eternity. The actual selection and editing process however was carried out mainly in and around the corona lockdown in the UK. A tentative guess to your question would be two and a half years.

You seem to have made a conscious decision to distanced yourself from documentation. Why?
I see this more as a natural progression. In all honesty I have never considered myself a documentary photographer as I have always been conflicted by the assertiveness that often comes with the territory. Many do it well, but unlike my photographs the world is not black and white and personally I have only ever felt comfortable operating in a space that allows room for ambiguity and self-reflection. Perhaps my work is not easily explained or categorised, however someone unbeknown to me recently commented on a social media post that he thought Lode was mainly “after presence, not representation”. I think that hits the nail pretty well on the head.

How did the collaboration with Skeleton Key Press come about?
In the Spring of 2021, as most of the world was slowly opening up again, I proposed an unfinished version of the book to Russell Joslin (owner of SKP) and a dozen other publishers that I thought potentially might be interested. This was sort of just “post-pandemic”, so my timing obviously couldn’t have been any worse, as most of them had already accumulated a backlog of planned books that they hadn’t been able to publish. At a highly unstable time, a general reluctance to take risks with a challenging book like mine became evident. Nevertheless, my submissions gained a fair bit of interest and I ended up talking to different publishers. Looking back, I definitely made the right decision with Skeleton Key Press, as I didn’t feel like I was compromising the work at any stage and, consequently, was able to make the book I wanted to make.

Would you describe ‘Lode’ as a conclusion to your first book?
No, “conclusion” is definitely too strong. A reflective “follow-up” would be sufficient. I think those who have seen Dead Traffic will be able to bring their understanding of that work into this newly broken-up and, distorted narrative, however I also regard Lode as capable of being a project in its own right and not as a second volume or anything like that.
Ulrich Rüter
EQUIPMENT: Leica R9 with Elmarit-R 28 f/2.8 and Summicron-R 50 f/2

LFI 3.2023+-

The issue 3.2023 of the LFI Magazine presents a portfolio of Kim Thue’s work. More

Kim Thue+-

© Kim Thue
© Kim Thue

was born in September 1980 and grew up in Grindsted, a small town on the Danish peninsula of Jutland. He has lived in England since 1998, where he earned a BA in Editorial Photography at Brighton University. His work has been exhibited and published internationally. In recent years he has shot numerous promo videos for bands such as Iceage and Lush. After Dead Traffic (2012), Lode is his second monograph. He lives with his family in London. More


Deep Inside the Archive

Kim Thue