Stuart Richardson was born in 1978 in Auckland, NZ and raised in Connecticut. Since 2007, he has been based in Reykjavík, where he proudly received his citizenship in 2018. He earned his MFA in photography from the Hartford Art School’s International Limited-Residency program, and his book dummy for Undercurrent won the Handmade Book Award for the class of 2018. His work has been shown at the National Museum of Iceland, featured in The Guardian, and exhibited in Iceland, the US, China, Germany, Denmark, Finland, and Norway. In addition to his photography, he runs Custom Photo Lab, where he specializes in producing exhibitions for museums, galleries and artists. Stuart works with multiple photographic formats, from 8×10 film to smartphone cameras and video. His photography is characterized by the attention paid to subtle details and forms in the natural environment, and his work often explores themes of environmentalism, the sublime, and transience – whether in relation to our experiences, to natural phenomena, or to how images render on film or video.
Undercurrent is my attempt to convey the complicated feelings I experience in nature. I am awestruck at its grandeur and the unfathomability of its scale and complexity; I feel a kinship with the rocks, wind, and water. I experience intense loss and frustration at the rapid destruction of nature and the relentless taming of wild spaces, and yet I am drawn to the very places which I most wish to preserve. We defile, destroy and desecrate. I am hardly any better than anyone else in this regard, and I am acutely aware that by journeying ever further in search of untouched nature, I am spoiling that which I am trying to save. I cannot help but seek out this nature, as it is what allows me to cope with the cruelty of the world. Nature is both my lament and my solace. The wilderness reassures me that there are still places that are beyond the human experience — outside politics, environmental degradation, human misery and joy. The absence of our collective influence in these spaces is bracing, filling me with conflicting senses of relief; insignificance in the face of the universe; and recognition of being part of something greater than myself; greater than humankind.
My photographs depict an imposing, fluid, natural environment; talismanic objects in the nature; and manipulated images that provoke the senses of the sublime and the uncanny in the viewer. Many of the images in the work exploit disorienting scales, transient phenomena, flash, as well as analog and digital manipulation to heighten the drama, decontextualize the subject matter and to obscure location or identity of the subject. Undercurrent was my MFA project at the Hartford Art School. It consists of large scale prints on Japanese scroll paper, and a self-made book printed on Japanese paper and bound in a traditional manner. The dummy won the 2018 Hartford Art School Handmade Book Award and has been shortlisted for the Fotobookfestival Kassel Dummy Award.
To view more of Stuart Richardson’s work please visit his website.