Richard Hardwick’s photographic practice questions the relationship that people have with their own bodies. His work is beautiful, evocative, and thoughtful. We caught up with the artist-photographer to find out about his new creative lockdown project, which starts as the UK begins a period of further restrictions.

Richard’s work explores the thoughts, feelings and emotions that we have towards our own bodies. He  investigates the influences of society, linking the corporeal with the visceral, touch and touched, feel and feeling. He focuses on the spiritual rather than dark negative aspects. His aim is to create a collection of photographs with a positive feel and uplifting message.

Through his work, Richard seeks to become a facilitator. He develops ideas from research and hands control of the process over to participants, who gave themselves permission to cast off the negative feelings they held towards their own body. They will utilise the photographic trace (the physio-chemical reaction occurring when light hits photo-sensitive material) to create an image with their body.  Richard classes his work as contemporary art that has a wide appeal, namely to people to relate to issues represented and to those who appreciate the aesthetic qualities.

Richard’s work highlights the positive benefits of human touch, illustrating how so many areas of health and wellbeing can be improved with hugging, especially when bare skin is touched. He recognises the synchronicity between the photographic trace and the chemical release in the brain when the skin is physically touched. It follows that the use of film is central to his projects, the physio-chemical changes of the photographic trace is embedded within the artist’s projects.

Richard’s work feels important in this strange time of social isolation and pandemic as we are advised not to mix, hug or create physical connections.

Richard goes on to explain that motion is utilised in so much of the work in order to evoke feelings and take a viewer beyond the literal.  “Performance also features within my work, both in the picture-taking process, the creation of a print, and also in how participants choose to represent themselves in an image.  There is an appeal in immersing myself in long term projects, developing a trust with the people I photograph, it becomes far more than taking pictures.”

BARE SKIN project – How you can get involved

Richard’s next project will take place over this lockdown period. He is unable to photograph people due to the restrictions, so he’s looking for volunteers to take a photograph of themselves and send it to him. He will then create a piece of artwork using the submitted pictures.

“My work features bare skin, so that will be the theme for this project:  BARE SKIN”

How to take part

Criteria:
  • It must be a picture of you.
  • It must have been taken by you.
  • It must only include bare skin.
  • It must be ‘Facebook friendly’.

Guidelines:
  • Pictures may be taken using a phone or camera and be either colour or black and white.
  • The artist will use one picture from each participant but you can submit up to five images if you choose to.
  • Interpret the theme of BARE SKIN as you wish but remember to keep it ‘Facebook friendly’, this is really not an invitation to ‘send nudes’.
  • Send a Direct Message with the photo(s) attached to Richard’s business page @hardwickstudio
  • Submissions close on Thursday 19th November 2020
Rules:
  • All participants must be 18 years old or older.
  • All participants will retain the copyright of their image.
  • By submitting you agree to grant Richard Hardwick a licence to create a single piece of artwork and display the derived work in all media without payment.
  • Submitting an image is no guarantee of receipt or inclusion in the final work.
  • The copyright of the final artwork will belong to Richard Hardwick.
  • Any images considered inappropriate, such as of a sexual nature, will not be used and will be deleted.

Find out more about Richard.

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