John Riddy

Overview

'When it works, the photographs bring different elements together to make something more than just one place or time. I hope my photographs resonate with other images and shared experience.'

The methods and formats of the photographer John Riddy (b. 1959, Northampton) echo that of the medium’s earliest practitioners, finding in still images both the factual and the transcendent qualities of the everyday. 

 

The particularities of place and the urban environment have been steadfast subjects for Riddy, and his photographic practice often emerges from his travels to distant locales, an approach that has allowed him to work consistently in series. The series Peninsula, made between 2014–16, records what the artist has called an ‘extraordinary visual disparity’ in the landscape of South Africa’s Cape Peninsula, resulting in complexly layered images. Riddy is equally adept at capturing the texture of London’s urban corners. Works such as King’s Cross, 2021 (2021) demonstrate the painterly quality of the artist’s practice, making the link between the composition, colours and tones in Riddy’s prints and the work of painters such as Barnett Newman, Helen Frankenthaler and Brice Marden. For Riddy that quality is ‘accented because it resonates with what we know to be an everyday subject and there is a complexity to the images that is rooted in that transformation of a commonplace’. The relationship between photography and the history of art and architecture is another important starting point for many of Riddy’s series. Eclectic examples include the autobiography of John Ruskin, the woodblock prints of Hokusai and the photographs of Gustave le Gray. Choices about format, materials and technique are intrinsic to each series, making the physical qualities of the final print of paramount importance.

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