OCA North study visit | Miranda Richmond

Miranda Richmond spoke at the OCA North meeting in Halifax on Sunday 12th January 2020. She is a painter who works in the tradition of David Bomberg and was married to Miles Richmond an artist in the Borough Group. She has exhibited widely across the north of England and in London and currently has an exhibition in Dean Clough which is on show until 24th January. Her website is here: http://miranda-richmond.co.uk/index.html

By Miranda Richardson, source: https://www.miranda-richmond.co.uk

As well as enjoying her work, I was interested in her process of making and how that might be related to photography.

  • She talked about the idea of disappearing into the landscape and being at one with it – trying not to bring thoughts to bear on it and letting work shape itself through a process of mark making. I found myself faced with the recurring theme of ‘eastern’ perspective (specifically meditational) that my tutor had advised to treat with caution in the context of academic essay writing – what is perceived as mystic thinking can be problematic. However, while I’ve decided not to write about it, it does form part of my practice and a feeling I also experience when making music. There is something about art which can take us beyond ourselves.
  • Miranda showed us her sketch books and was asked how long she typically spends on sketches in the field (some drawings, some water colours) – 1.5 hours. This is longer than I would spend in any one spot with a camera, though I’m aware that many photographers will spend this long in a single location, either for traditional landscape or street photography. My photography practice generally incorporates walking and a route – this works against the idea of spending substantial time in any one place. This is particularly true of my photographs along the canal which have involved an AtoB route for logistics. Next time I’m out, I’ll experiment with working a single spot.

I was left with a suspicion that other arts could be more focused on the process of making and the visual output than the contemplation of context, meaning and intention that seems to pervade photography. Perhaps if the balance were tilted more towards the making, some photographic work would become more visually compelling and stand without elaborate contextualisation.