Born in Birmingham, Robert Darch is a photographer, educator & curator based in the South West of England. He holds an MFA with distinction in Photographic Arts and a MA with distinction in Photography & the Book from Plymouth University. He also has a BA with honours in Documentary Photography from Newport, Wales.
His practice is motivated by the experience of place, in which the physical geography and material cultures of places merge with impressions from contemporary culture that equally influence perception. From these varied sources, both real and imagined, he constructs narratives that help contextualise a personal response to place.
Alongside his photographic practice, Robert is the Project Coordinator for the Unveil'd festival and Co-Director of Dodo Photo, an exhibition and studio space he runs with his partner Jessica Lennan. Robert also set up and runs Macula a collective for young photographers based in Exeter.
Robert's work has been exhibited and published internationally and featured on various platforms including; Juxtapoz, Lensculture, Photoworks, Fotoroom and Ain’t Bad Magazine. His photography was also included in the first Fisheye Photobook, a curated selection of work that was initially featured online.
In 2017 Robert was nominated for the Mack First Book Prize, the Magnum Graduate Photography Award and also won the single image category 'life' at the Renaissance Photography Prize.
Lives - Exeter - Devon
- 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'.
- 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
- The Guardian | Renaissance Photography Prize
- Palm Studios
- Renaissance Photography Prize Catalogue
- Aint Bad Magazine
- Mull It Over
- Velvet Eyes
- Fisheye Magazine
- Float Magazine
- The Telegraph Magazine
- Of The Land & Us
- Inside The Outside
- The Guardian | Portrait Salon
- The Pupil Sphere - Vale
- Source Graduate
- Juxtapoz Magazine
- Darwin Magazine
- Fisheye Magazine
- Phases Magazine
- Photo Art Magazine
- Another Place Magazine
- Selektor Magazine
- 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
- 2004 - BA Honours Documentary Photography - Newport - Paul Seawright - Ken Grant - Clive Landen - Pete Davis - Dr Ian Walker
- 2018 - Unveil'd Photobook Award
- 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
- 2017 - Plymouth College of Art
- 2017 - Bath Spa University
- 2017 - Rural Deep Symposium - Plymouth University
- 2016 - Last Wednesday Artist Talk - Exeter Phoenix
- 2015 - Unveil'd - Exeter
Words by others
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.