New Beyond Earth Photography Exhibition at Museum

Local advertising photographer Richard Pinches is exhibiting part of his master’s fine art photography degree he completed at the University of Hertfordshire 2020-21 in the Community Gallery at the River & Rowing Museum until 4 June.

The work is described as ‘organic’ photography. It is based on treatments of non-digital (film) based images of conflict that have been distressed by various techniques including soil microbes, ignition with gunpowder and a 12 gauge shotgun acting directly on the photographic tin plates.  These various techniques have produced an eclectic set of unique and stunning images, originally titled ‘Barbs, Burnt, Buried and Blasted’ when exhibited as a full set in 2021 but here simply called ‘Beyond Earth’ as the key images are reminiscent of a view of our planet.

Richard used antique process from 1851 called Wet Plate Collodion that he taught himself during the lockdowns of 2020. Richard started focusing on using barbed wire as metaphor for conflict, with this process and later with colour film.

Mainly photographing barbed wire, the work is very personal and pays homage to Richard’s late farmer father, Peter Pinches, who grazed cattle at Meadows Farm, Henley-on-Thames, but he was also a Desert Rat in WW2. It also reflects on a personal conflict with Richard’s older brother following their father’s death where Billy Pinches sold the family farm without allowing Richard any chance to buy a part or whole of it and hence losing his home and photography studio.

Ultimately, it’s all connected, as a farmer’s son, Richard grew up surrounded by cows around the farmhouse, fenced off by barbed wire and some of this actual barbed wire was used as an image base in many of the images.  The film is then buried in the rich soil from the family farm to allow the microbes within to eat away at the organic gelatine part of the film.  Gelatine coming from bones, often cow bones. The final serendipity being that Richard’s studios were based in his father’s converted cow shed.

The exhibition will be open during normal Museum opening hours 10am-4pm Thursday to Monday.


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