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 insidehis 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.

Step into my camera…Richard Learoyd at the Fraenkel Gallery

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.

All images Richard Learoyd and Fraenkel Gallery

Agnes with eyes closed, Richard Learoyd
Nancy nude with white chair, Richard Learoyd
Tatiana in green chair, Richard Learoyd
Tatiana with imperfect lens, Richard Learoyd