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Richard Learoyd
Richard Learoyd

Richard Learoyd

Country: United Kingdom
Birth: 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

 

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When I am not shooting or creating, I am thinking about what needs to be taken care of, so that I can get back to my art.AAP: What advice would you give a young photographer?I teach a photography group and I always advise them to keep the elements of composition in mind, photograph what inspires them and, if an idea hits you out of the blue, take a second to notate it for use later. Above all else, allow your images to serve as self-expression.AAP: Do you have an idea or project you would like to share?Recently, I have focused on my nature and wildlife photography. I have always loved birds and will sit in a field, by a stream or in a ditch along the side of a road for an hour or more to capture an elusive species or to wait for that moment of interaction. As a very young girl my fondest memory was sitting on my grandmother’s porch while she showed me tintypes of my great grandmother and other loved ones. 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Suddenly I spotted a 6 foot fence pole that was literally covered with bees. I pulled over, jumped out of the car and grabbed my camera from the trunk as well as a jacket to throw over my head. I told my son to stay in the car and take some photos with his little camera, but not to roll down the window. Bees were flying over my head and around my body to get to the pole. As I attempted to focus on the bees I realized that all these bees were vibrating up and down the pole. In order to get the shot, I was going to have to move in very close. At a couple of feet away I took the photos in my series “A Gathering of Bees.” When I returned to the car my son was a bit distraught. I said "I’m sorry if I took too long" and he said, “But Mommy, you’re allergic to bees. What if they swarmed you? What would I do?” I shall always remember the look on his face when I told him that if they swarmed me, “Take the Shot!”
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