2018 - BJP - Portrait of Britain - Winner - Exhibition & Book
2018 - Shortlisted for the Palm Photo Prize
2017 - Renaissance Photography Prize - Single Image Category Winner - Life -
2017 - Magnum Graduate Award Nominee
2017 - Nominated for the Mack First Book Award
2017 - Selected to exhibit as part of I.P.F. London
2017 - Photoworks | Photograd - Superstition Competition - Runner Up
2016 - Source Graduate Selection by Cliff Lauson - Curator - Hayward Gallery
2016 - Selected to Exhibit as part of Portrait Salon - Runner Up - Public Vote
2016 - Athens International Photography Festival - Shortlisted for 'The Moor'.
2016 - Hyeres International Festival of Fashion & Photography - Shortlisted for 'The Moor' & 'Vale'.
2018 - Distinctly - Pingyao International Photography Festival - China
2018 - BJP - Portrait of Britain - United Kingdom - Nationwide
2018 - Palm Photo Prize - London
2017 - Renaissance Photography Prize - Getty Images Gallery - London
2017 - Independent Photography Festival - London
2016 - Portrait Salon - London
2016 - Re-imagined States - Plymouth - England
2016 - Unveil'd Festival - Exeter - England
2016 - Plymouth Art Weekender - Plymouth - England
2016 - Memory Archive Exhibition - Photobook Melbourne - Melbourne - Australia
2015 - This Is Not A Dream - Peninsula Arts - Plymouth - England
2015 - Beyond The Camera - Pingyao International Photography Festival - China
Portrait Salon Catalogue, 2016
Renaissance Photography Prize Catalogue, 2017
This is Paper
Publications | Features
2016 - MFA Photographic Arts with Distinction - Plymouth University - David Chandler
2015 - Masters with Distinction Photography & The Book - Plymouth University - David Chandler - Jem Southam - Liz Nichol
2018 - Associate Lecturer - Documentary Photography - Plymouth University
2016 - 2018 - Visiting Lecturer - PCAD, Bath Spa, Exeter School of Art, Falmouth
2012 - 2018 - Macula - Photography collective for young adults
2017 - Judge - South West Photography Awards - Exhibition Selections - Fotonow
2017 - Freya Najade - New Contemporaries Talk Series - Plymouth University
2017 - Lewis Bush - New Contemporaries Talk Series - Plymouth University
2017 - Tereza Zelenkova - New Contemporaries Talk Series - Plymouth University
2017 - Max Ferguson - New Contemporaries Talk Series - Plymouth University
2017 - Lola Paprocka - New Contemporaries Talk Series - Plymouth University
2016 - Unveil'd Festival - Exeter
2016 - Martha - Sian Davey - Dodo Photo - Exeter
2016 - The Kids Are Alright - Macula Collective - Exeter
2014 - Topo - Macula Collective - Dodo Gallery - Exeter
2018 - Exeter School of Art
2018 - Bath Spa University
2017 - Plymouth College of Art
2017 - Bath Spa University
2017 - Rural Deep Symposium with Anne Golaz - Plymouth University
2016 - Last Wednesday Artist Talk - Exeter Phoenix
2015 - Unveil'd - Exeter
Words by others
It's Nice That, Ruby Boddington - 2018
In 2008, Birmingham-born photographer Robert Darch moved to Exeter, Devon in the south west of England. In that decade, the area would come to shape the geographical context of Robert’s work, of which the series Durlescombe is a large part. An ongoing project, Durlescombetells the story of a fictional, yet altogether typical Devonshire village, through documentary photography, Robert’s own family photos and found illustrations.
Already aware that his family name of Darch had links to Devon, Robert found himself in a small town in the middle of the county in the Spring of 2016. “I thought it might be fun to see if I could find any Darch’s in the graveyard,” he recalls, “almost instantly, and to my surprise, I found a large gravestone with my name on it, Robert Darch.”
This chance discovery prompted a project which sees Robert exploring his own attachment to a region where generations of his family have lived and worked for almost one thousand years. Although not a real place, the village of Durlescombe becomes a holding ground for this attachment; an embodiment of Robert’s identity and nostalgia.
The series is full of chance encounters, from finding the original gravestone to meeting actual family members and abandoned buildings previously owned by relatives. Although ultimately fictitious, these interactions are what breathe so much nostalgia into the images. This nostalgia is also captured within the tone of the images, however. Full of misty scenes and lofty barns, there is a drama to the series which is only furthered by the inclusion of archival illustrations and photographs.
When shooting the series, Robert spent time observing the local people and documenting from afar but also constructed certain shots. “I explained that they are more like characters inhabiting this place from my imagination rather than being an accurate portrayal of them,” he explains. Despite this, there is an honesty to the series as a result of the time Robert spent getting to know the community, allowing them to have a say in the narrative that ensued.
David Chandler, Rural Deep, Plymouth University - 2017
Rural Deep will feature presentations by two photographic artists whose recent work is concerned with the evolving relationships between people and rural environments in very distinctive, localised contexts in Europe. Combining and juxtaposing different photographic registers in their work, both artists disrupt conventional documentary models to construct new ways of seeing and imagining rural experience. Their rural scenes shift between dark mystery and sunlit pastoral, between the sublime and the banal. Tradition and modernity are often awkwardly aligned, and quotidian reality is undercut by elements of fictional narrative, ambiguity and the absurd. In their different ways, Anne Golaz and Robert Darch present multi-textural visions of rural life, in which age-old rhythms and rituals have taken on new and often surprising meanings and associations.
Source Graduate, Cliff Lauson, Hayward Gallery - 2016
Darch's documentary-style images, both archival and contemporary, of the fictional town of Durlescombe harken back to some of the long-standing questions about the veracity of photography. Ranging from portraits to the smallest details of rural life, the series works together to paint a convincing picture of this non-exsistent village. But beyond this conceptual framework, his photographs are also powerful atmospheric constructions. There's a great tension between stillness and motion in many of his images, used succesfully along with bold composition strategies.
It is always a great pleasure to be involved with graduate work, and as a visual arts curator, I am generally interested in images that work across both conceptual and aesthetic lines. This can be a tricky balance to strike, but it is one that a number of photographers in this year's submissions have accomplished with a high degree of originality and impact. In some works, I could see the influence of historical photographers resonating, but filtered through very contemporary topics and themes. Transition, thresholds, and change seem to be the prevalent topics of the more representational images, while others depict the quieter moments and traces of places that appear all the more charged for their abandon. I had a strong gut reaction to all of the works that I selected - they stirred something inside of me and drew me into the photographer's story, as all good artwork should.
David Chandler, Plymouth University - 2016
Both Sian and Robert have excelled during their time at Plymouth, producing photographic work that is both highly distinctive in its relationship to the South West and completely international in its ambition and standard. Their success is indicative of an exciting momentum in the teaching of photography at the University, which is set to gather pace in the future.
Juxtapoz - 2016
In each of his three photo series, Vale, The Moor, and The White Wale, British photographer Robert Darch shows masterful command of light and a propensity for precise composition.
Featured in the gallery are images from The Moor, a sequence of sixty-one color and black and white photographs that create a magnificent, uneasy world. Vast, strange and quiet landscapes intersperse with portraits, with only one subject featured at a time. Across the series, there is a consistent specificity of subject. Everything is under a microscope, but nothing lacks for space. What’s more vague, rather, is the constructed presence of the image-maker. Darch uses subtle shifts in camera position and zooming in through consecutive images that create the sense of a curious, omnipresent but invisible eye. Elicia Epstein, Juxtapoz, 2016
Lensculture on Vale - 2016
Romantic landscapes set in the southwest of England-home of Arthurian legends-laced with contemporary unease. Fiction, document, feeling and place are all rolled together in this nuanced set of images.