Clive Arrowsmith & Lowry

My work is an obsession. I am an obsessive, and somewhat of a dreamer. I trained as a painter in art school for five years before discovering photography, which I had previously decried as a minor creative form. But once I began to take pictures, painting faded away. The light from the Italian Renaissance has never left me, though. Sometimes they call me the “Caravaggio of photography”, which never fails to makes me smile.  


Making Portraits

The ghost of electricity lies in the face of all people: their passions, their sadness and their joy. This is what I try to bring out, becoming the cabaret for them, so that when their smile or laughter fades, the memory of that moment is captured by the camera. Each portrait is a moment in time that can never be repeated.


Your next book is about L.S Lowry, a famous English painter whom you photographed for your first professional assignment. Why this book now and what will it be made of ?

It’s an intimate shoot of Lowry at home in 1966 (which coincides with the exhibition The Lowry in Salford this June). The drab industrial landscape of Salford near Manchester, where the spectre of the industrial revolution still hovered in the atmosphere, is captured alongside Lowry’s simple everyday life. One can see from his work how he so affectionately captured the people of that time. The images in the book are a reflection of that. (Lowry At Home 1966 by Clive Arrowsmith - June 2017, ACC Publishing).

Lowry once said to me: “I paint people as I see them.” Well, I photograph them as I see them. It may be an obvious fact that one can only photograph what is in front of the camera, but by manipulating the light and shade one can add mood and dimension, capturing that which only exists in a moment.


Of all people you have photographed, who has touched/stirred you the most, and why?

Being a Buddhist, it has to be my Tibetan Buddhist teacher Khyongla Rato Rinpoche and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In those moments, there was no time. They’re followed by beautiful women, of course – because I see them all as Goddesses.


You can now purchase Clive's new title Lowry: At Home.

For information on Clive's new exhibition please click here