Richard Learoyd: in the Studio
Until November 27, 2016
@ The Getty Museum, Los Angeles
To be or not to be… by Beatrice Chassepot
Some portraits by Photographers are like territories to scrutinize or ethnological studies. With British Photographer Richard Learoyd, portraits are more an expression of the metaphysical problematic encountered with the human being.
First of all, the large size of the photographs -one time and a half the real size, if not two times- gives the sense of the size of the problem, Huge! Shakespeare would say “to be or not to be, that is the question”. This is exactly what the large size expresses. The body is gigantically present, but how?
This is where the specific technique used by Learoyd shows it all. Learoyd utilizes a room-sized camera obscura with a fixed lens to make unique direct-positive prints. That technique reveals all the imperfection of the skin, the tiny shadow made by a hand, the delicacy of an incipient smile, the finesse of a fabric.
All these details make a combination of markers that reveal the strength or fragility of the human being represented.
These portraits show the very essence of a human being in its complexity: complexity to exist, to appear, to show, to keep secret, to be or not to be….