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Richard Learoyd


Richard Learoyd (b. 1966, Nelson, Lancashire, England) studied fine art photography under the landscape artist Thomas Joshua Cooper at the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland, graduating in 1990. From 1994 to 1999, he taught photography at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art in England.

With an unparalleled passion for the medium and its materials, Learoyd explores the limits of photographic expression in his large-scale color and black-and-white portraits, landscapes and still lifes. Using the antiquarian process of the camera obscura (from Latin for "dark room"), Learoyd's color pictures are unique, direct-positive images produced without film negatives or digital technology. Learoyd began experimenting with this unconventional method during his post-graduate year, refining his practice in 2003 with the creation of a room-sized camera in which light-sensitive photographic paper is exposed. His subject - whether a sitter or still life - occupies an adjacent room containing a powerful light source; a lens mounted onto a bellows connects the two. As light falling on the subject is recorded directly onto a sheet of Ilfochrome paper, the resulting hyper-real image is entirely grainless and acutely detailed, though shallow in depth of field. Learoyd's recent large- format, black-and-white photographs likewise reference the medium's heritage, employing the negative/positive process invented by William Henry Fox Talbot nearly two centuries ago. Up to 80 inches wide, they are among the largest gelatin silver contact prints ever made.

Learoyd's portrait and still life photographs have been included in numerous group shows and were the subject of the recent exhibition, Richard Learoyd: Dark Mirror, at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London (2015-16). The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles will also mount a solo exhibition of his work later this year. A comprehensive monograph of Learoyd's color studio images, Richard Learoyd: Day for Night, was published by Aperture in collaboration with Pier 24 Photography in the fall of 2015. Other publications include Richard Learoyd: Still/Life (2013) and Richard Learoyd: Presences (2011).

His photographs are held in the permanent collections of institutions worldwide, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; Pier 24 Photography, San Francisco; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven; among others.

Learoyd lives and works in London, England.

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