The Artist: Richard Learoyd
The Show: Presences, at the Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
May 5 – June 25, 2011
Both visually and psychologically revealing, the photographs of British artist Richard Learoyd probe the limits of image-capture. Learoyd’s subjects pose inside his camera: a specially designed camera obscura-type mechanism consisting of two small rooms. In one, the subject sits illuminated by a powerful light source. A lens fixed inside a bellows projects the image onto a sheet of photographic paper mounted on the wall in the adjoining dark room.
The resulting image is the image: there is no enlargement, and the direct-positive process means no photographic negative is used. The exposed sheet is fed directly into a processing device, which yields a large and highly detailed print with virtually no noise or graininess. The direct capture of light from subject to print results in images that defy our expectations of what a photograph should look like, and how we should feel when looking.
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