If photography is the capture of a definitive moment in time and space, then the distinctive photographs of Richard Heeps continually seek to challenge that simple perception.
Richard’s first exhibition in Urban Picnic reflectes work produced over the last 20 years and typically exemplifies how Richard playfully subverts the viewer’s consciousness. Although none of his images are contrived, not all is as it seems. The image of a movie starlet lazily flicking through a poolside magazine was taken in 2001 and the racing strip could be on the salt flats of Nevada or just off the M1 in Northamptonshire.
What is always apparent in Richard’s work are the deliciously intense colours: think of the sumptuousness of old Technicolor movies, and you’ll be getting warm. By always shooting on film and hand-printing his own pictures with personal colour-saturation techniques, Richard heightens the cinematic quality of the images, and adds to their ambiguity. Whether it’s the blazing orange flames painted on a ’67 Dodge Coronet, the cool Hockney blues of Californian swimming pools in dazzling sunlight, or the artfully made-up flesh tones of pretty girls in sharp period outfits, the fullblooded gorgeousness of the subjects are inescapable.
Technique and style apart, Richard’s enduring fondness for the fading ripples of a bygone age is perfectly enabled by his subject matter, whether it be a mythical Americana or a British sentimentality. The images of Elvis and Marilyn Monroe, woven into carpets and on television screens, are kitsch icons made unashamedly glorious. And the flag hanging limply from the rafters of a scout hut certainly evokes an unarguably nostalgic sense of colonial decline, but could have been taken at any time in the last sixty years.
Born in 1965 in Cambridge, where he still works and lives, Richard has pursued an interest in colour photography through a variety of themes predominantly set within the East Anglian region, and encompassing Europe and North America.
His work has been widely published and exhibited since 1986 to global acclaim, and he has exhibited at the Photographers Gallery, The Spitz Gallery, Light House Gallery and 20-21 Visual Arts Centre.