Richard Learoyd

Using a homemade camera obscura, the artist creates intimate portraits, still lifes, and landscapes, “extending the duration of looking” through attention to detail.

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to present the worldwide debut of new, large-scale photographs by British artist Richard Learoyd from January 5 – March 4, 2017. Featured are color studio portraits, still lifes, and black-and-white landscapes photographed in California and Eastern Europe. All of the photographs were made with room-sized cameras constructed by the artist.

Richard Learoyd’s singular working methods use a camera obscura to create remarkable extra-large-format darkroom photographs, up to 85 inches wide.

Lucie with stockings, 2016
unique Ilfochrome photograph, 80-1/4 x 60 inches (framed) [203.8 x 152.4 cm]
It’s about time, 2016
unique Ilfochrome photograph, 60-1/2 x 88 inches (framed) [153.7 x 223.5 cm]

In Learoyd’s most recent larger-than-life portraits, his subjects are turned away from the camera, seemingly unknowable. But the artist’s palpable curiosity manifests itself in the intensely rendered details. The photographs have a physicality and tactility that projects a desire for closeness. Subtle use of gesture, color, and pose become signifiers of the subject’s inner life, while the translucent qualities of skin and fabric suggest human vulnerability and fragility.

Man with somebody else’s heart, 2016
unique Ilfochrome photograph, 80-3/8 x 59-7/8 inches (framed) [204.5 x 151.8 cm]

Likewise, in Learoyd’s new black-and-white landscapes, his process is one of search and discovery, revealing surprising scenes with quiet delicacy. His varied subjects reflect encounters with previously unfamiliar terrain, on the coast of California and in rural areas of Bulgaria, Romania, and Poland. Whether photographing a beached whale or the ruins of a monument, his photographs capture an imposing presence, its texture, weight, and volume. Revealing the physical and metaphorical gravity of the scene, Learoyd’s photographs embody the timelessness of the landscape.

The sins of the father, 2016
gelatin-silver contact print, 60-7/8 x 77 inches (framed) [154.6 x 195.6 cm], edition of 5

Richard Learoyd’s first solo museum exhibition, Dark Mirror, was mounted at the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2015. More recently, The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles presented the solo exhibition Richard Learoyd: In the Studio, which will travel to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, February 10 to June 11, 2017.

Works on View

Ask About the Works in this Exhibition

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.