Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Richard Learoyd | Presences at Fraenkel Gallery San Francisco

Richard Learoyd, Agnes to the Right, 2011
Unique Camera Obscura Ilfochrome Photograph, 58" x 48"
Richard Learoyd, Tatiana in Red with Green Chair, 2010
Unique Camera Obscura Ilfochrome Photograph, 58" x 48"

Richard Learoyd, Agnes with Eyes Closed, 2007
Unique Camera Obscura Ilfochrome Photograph, 76" x 64"
Richard Learoyd's photographs are unique images made with a specifically built camera. The camera is the size of a small room, in which the artists pins direct colour positive paper (known as dye destruction, Cibachrome or Ilfachrome) to the back wall and views the image, much as inside a camera obscura. An image cast by a lens fixed to the front wall is projected onto the paper and the resulting exposed sheet is fed directly into a print processing machine connected to the walk-in camera / dark room. The fact that this process is a direct positive on a large scale, with no print enlargement from a negative or transparency, results in an image of astounding clarity, detail and lack of film-grain. The effect is almost hyper real.
Unlike in most conventional photography, objects and people are brought to the immovable camera and placed and arranged in front. He also works outside the convention of a photographic sequence or series, but in a cohesive grouping of singular images. Learoyd's seemingly simple or restrained compositional arrangements belie complex conceptual and philosophical ideas, many of which question the nature of optics and the practice of photography itself. The chosen subject matter however does not overtly attempt to fulfil an externalised cultural or theoretical brief, but carries its message initially through sheer visual impact.

More Info  Richard Learoyd Aperture Article, Aperture 199 / Summer 2010

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