AAP Magazine #7 - Wild

Richard Learoyd

British Photographer | Born: 1966

Richard Learoyd was born in the small mill town of Nelson, Lancashire, England in 1966. At the age of 15, his mother insisted he take a pinhole photography workshop, which he attributes as the start of his interest in photography. In 1990 he graduated from the Glasgow School of Art with a degree in Fine Art Photography. While there he studied with American photographer Thomas Joshua Cooper. In 1991 Learoyd was awarded an artist-in-residence at the Scottish Ballet. Learoyd taught photography at Bournemouth and Poole College from 1994 until 1999. In 2000, he moved to London where he worked as a commercial photographer.

Source: Wikipedia


Richard Learoyd’s color images are made with one of the most antiquarian of photographic processes: the camera obscura. Literally translated from Latin as “dark room,” Learoyd has created a room-sized camera in which the photographic paper is exposed. The subject—often a person, sometimes a still life—is in the adjacent room, separated by a lens. Light falling on the subject is directly focused onto the photographic paper without an interposing film negative. The result is an entirely grainless image. The overall sense of these larger-than-life images redefines the photographic illusion. Learoyd’s subjects, composed simply and directly, are described with the thinnest plane of focus, re-creating and exaggerating the way that the human eye perceives, and not without a small acknowledgement to Dutch Master painting.

Learoyd’s black-and-white gelatin silver contact prints are made using the negative/positive process invented roughly 170 years ago by Englishman W. H. Fox Talbot. Working with a large and portable camera obscura of his own construction, Learoyd has journeyed outside of his London studio, into the art-historically rich English countryside, along the California coast, and throughout Eastern Europe, producing images that have long been latent in his imagination. The negatives are up to 80 inches wide, resulting in the largest gelatin-silver contact prints ever made.

In 2015, Aperture released Richard Learoyd: Day for Night, a comprehensive book of color portraits and studio work, and concurrently, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London mounted a his first solo museum exhibition, Dark Mirror. In 2016, the J. Paul Getty Museum opened a solo exhibition of his large-scale portrait and still-life photographs, which then traveled to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. In 2019, a survey exhibition will open at Fundación MAPFRE in Spain.

Learoyd’s work is included in the collections of The Getty, Tate, Victoria & Albert Museum, Centre Pompidou, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Nelson-Atkins Museum, National Gallery of Canada, and Yale University Art Gallery, among others.

Source: Fraenkel Gallery

Richard Learoyd: Day for Night
Author: Richard Learoyd, Martin Barnes and Nancy Gryspeerdt
Publisher: Aperture/Pier 24 photography
Year: 2015 - Pages: 328
This deluxe, oversized monograph offers the most comprehensive collection of British photographer Richard Learoyd's (born 1966) color studio images to date--mostly portraits, but also including a handful of exquisite still lifes. The color images are made with one of the most antiquarian of photographic processes: the camera obscura, literally translated from Latin as "dark room." Learoyd has created a room-sized camera in which the Cibachrome photographic paper is exposed. The subject is in the adjacent room, separated by a lens. Light falling on the subject is directly focused onto the photographic paper without an interposing film negative. The result is a perfectly clear, entirely grainless, larger-than-life image. Learoyd's subjects, composed simply and directly, are described with the thinnest plane of focus, recreating and exaggerating the way that the human eye perceives; the images recall Dutch Master paintings in tone and composition.
 
Presences
Author: Richard Learoyd
Publisher: Fraenkel Gallery
Year: 2011
This oversized book contains twenty-six powerful and psychologically intimate images. Learoyd's minutely detailed, large-scale color portraits do not look like other photographs. Made with a giant camera comprised of two rooms, Learoyd's subject (generally a person, though sometimes an object such as a mirror) occupies one room containing a powerful light source, while the photographic paper occupies the adjacent camera obscura (dark room in Latin). Connecting the two rooms is a lens set within a bellows an accordion-like contraption dating from the medium's first century. The direct-positive images are generous in size and have a subtle tonal range that is reminiscent of Dutch Master painting, though are clearly portraits and studies of our time. In addition to the twenty-six portraits and still lives, the book includes a number of details illustrating the particular focal characteristics of the camera obscura as well as installation photographs.
 
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