Distinctly Britain - Pingyao International Photography Festival - China by Robert Darch

I am excited to announce that I will be exhibiting several images in the group show ‘Distinctly Britain’ curated by Tracy Marshall (as part of the Look Photo biennial exchange) at the Pingyao International Photography Festival in China. I am honoured to be exhibiting alongside some of the countries best known and most admired photographers; Martin Parr, Tish Murtha, Chris Killip, Kirsty Mackay, Daniel Meadows, Niall McDiarmid, Marketa Luscova, John Myers, and particularly my former professors at Newport, Ken Grant and Paul Seawright. 

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Interview with Urbanautica Institute by Robert Darch

Steve Bisson kindly interviewed me for the Urbanautica Institute Journal. I always find interviews a very productive exercise as they afford you an opportunity to reflect on your work and the motivations behind the photographs. Click <Here> for the interview. 

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Unveil'd Photobook Winner 2017 by Robert Darch

And after much deliberation the winner of the Unveil'd Photobook Award is Shane Lavalette with his self published book, 'One Sun, One Shadow'.  Shane Lavalette [US]  |  Lavalette

The competition was incredibly strong this year and particularly rich in the depth of ideas and modes of presentation. For this reason we decided to include a longlist as well as a shortlist of 6 books. The shortlisted books are:

Cubby's Tarn |  Joseph Wright [UK]  |  JW Editions , 

Itaca |  Gabriele Rossi [IT] |  Yard Press

Nos Feux Nous Appartiennent  |  Marine Lanier [FR]  |  Poursuite & JB Editions

Arch  |  Anne Erhard & Cameron Williamson [UK]  |  Self-published  

Hunter Grill  |  Alexandre Christiaens [BE]  |  Origini Edizioni

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Unveil'd Book Award by Robert Darch

The Unveil'd Book Award is open again for entries. We have already had some great submissions and a lot of interest, plus it's free to enter! We will work together with the winning photographer or author to produce a fully funded solo exhibition within our 2018/19 programme.  The focus is to create a flexible environment that responds to the winner's practice and best supports the development of their work. 

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Renaissance Photography Prize by Robert Darch

I was honoured and humbled to win the Single image category 'Life' at the Renaissance Photography Awards, a worthy competition which donates its profits to the Lavender Trust, who support young women diagnosed with breast cancer. This was the 10th year of the Prize and it was judged by a distinguished panel of professionals.

  • Clare Grafik - Head of Exhibitions, The Photographers’ Gallery
  • Dewi Lewis - Founder, Dewi Lewis Publishing
  • Fiona Rogers - Global Business Development Manager, Magnum Photos International
  • Fiona Shields - Picture Editor, The Guardian and Head of Photography, Guardian News & Media
  • Gem Fletcher - Senior Art Director, Getty Images
  • Marloes Krijnen - Founder and Director of FOAM, Amsterdam
  • Melissa DeWitt - Editor-in-Chief, HOTSHOE
  • Simon Roberts - Photographer

The work was exhibited in the Getty Images Gallery, London from the 11th to the 21st of October. 

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Meural by Robert Darch

I was honoured that Max Ferguson the editor in chief at Splash & Grab magazine asked if he could use my work on Meural, a new platform for showcasing art that the magazine is partnering with. The work will be available to lease for a month and then displayed in Meural's custom digital picture frames. 

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Macula Collective - 5 Years Old by Robert Darch

Five years ago today I set up a photography group for young people. Tom Coleman director of Unveil'd has kindly written some words about his involvement with the Macula Collective.

'I scraped through school with a mixed bag of GCSEs, with the worst grades in Art and Graphic Design - the two subjects I should have enjoyed the most but felt completely un-inspired to do any work for. I was skipping school a lot to hang out with my girlfriend. We got drunk on a Monday afternoon when I should have been in double maths and I stuck photocopied, pretty graphic porn on my art final piece (it was otherwise an ink drawing of an owl). I handed it in, wrapped in a bin bag and got stuck trying to jump the school fence running from my teacher before she opened it.

I went to college for three weeks, it didn't interest me. On a rainy day I told my tutor, a Philosophy teacher I was dropping out, he asked me what I was going to do instead and I remember murmuring something about a photography blog I had been running since I was fifteen. He looked bemused and off I went.

The cafe I was working at cut my hours, it was late autumn 2013, there was nothing to do and no jobs going. I volunteered in a charity book shop for a while just to get me out of bed. I saw on Facebook a little photography gallery Dodo Photo was opening in Exeter and they needed a hand setting up. I went along, met Martyn Windsor who was also helping and Brendan Barry, who was living above the gallery space at the time. I painted the toilet. I told them both about the blog I was running and Brendan said I should get in touch with Rob, who ran 'Foto Group'. Me and Martyn both went and met Rob and the other members. I had something to sink my teeth into and we re-branded to Macula Collective. Every Tuesday we would look at each other's work or go out into the countryside to take pictures. I was still shooting loads of film of my friends getting drunk so Macula gave me a kind of constructive space to think about the work I wanted to make.

Rob's work was developing too as he had just started doing an MA at Plymouth University. His pictures always heightened the places we had seen into a dream-like state. I have just got back from Wales, having photographed the beginnings of a new long term project. There are hints of Rob's work in all of my images, I've learnt to read light through his camera more than mine.

I turn twenty-one in exactly two weeks. In the last four years I founded and ran Unveil'd alongside Martyn, producing three photography festivals with the next set to take place in 2019 and planned to be the biggest yet. I have curated a number of exhibitions and had my work shown in three different countries. I have had the chance to meet some of my personal heroes and raised the funding to fly my favourite photographers into the UK to give talks as part of Unveil'd. Sitting next to your heroes is humbling and petrifying at the same time, more so when you are physically exhausted after pulling everything together last minute and trying to find the last bit of energy to make sure they are looked after.

Rob, Martyn, Jessica Lennan and myself now head up Unveil'd, pulling in all of our respective skills and contacts. Brendan teaches foundation degree photography in Exeter so we have a close partnership with the School of Art and the students. Rob and Jes moved into Dodo Photo when Brendan moved out, it's now functioning as their personal studio with some exciting projects in the pipeline.

I have been invited to give talks and guest lectures at galleries, organisations and universities over the last few years, nervously accepting each offer. I applied to do a degree of my own at London College of Communication, realising the constructive space, network and facilities that come with a university setting would benefit me. My place was accepted.

I move to London tomorrow to start University and i’ll be sharing a house with Peter Butterworth and Stan Jeffrey, both fellow Macula members.

The first event I did as Unveil'd was in some Edwardian toilets in Bristol, taking it's name from the line "And now, unveil'd, the toilet stands display'd" from Alexander Pope's poem. I hadn't made the connection until now that the last four years might not have happened unless I had painted the toilet in Dodo Photo. Whenever I've given talks I tell the audience or class to hang out at galleries, help out and sweep floors. People usually think I am joking or speaking generally but I'm being serious. Sweeping the floor is the last thing that happens before a show opens. It means someone has turned up and got their hands dirty, they're not just there for the free beer. I always clock those people and they're the ones I want to work with.

I think it's funny the way things have worked out, I've ended up doing what I always said I wouldn't, just with a very strict set of rules about how to do it and what matters to me personally. I owe the next three years of (University) life and probably everything that comes after them, to Rob and the collective. I have an inkling they might be pretty good.' Tom Coleman.

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