Michelle Richards was born in 1974 in Melbourne, and lives and works in Brisbane. She is a photographer, curator and librarian and has been working in community arts for over ten years.
Michelle majored in film production during her undergraduate BA in Humanities degree at Griffith University and saw the transition from analogue cameras and editing equipment to digital. It altered her perceptions of image making and she enjoys reflecting on that transitional period when technologies from both worlds were used. After studying the moving image, she became increasingly drawn to still images and began creating works that had the appearance of film stills. This subject area is where much of her arts photography practice stems from.
After living and working in the UK for two years in 1998/9 Michelle returned to Brisbane to study photography in 2000. Michelle’s work explores the transitions between old and new, analogue and digital, foreground and background, and between generations. The source materials for her latest series are the original slides from her grandparents’ world trip in 1970. Michelle’s technique involves projecting the slides onto a model and photographing the resulting image.
By using only the light from an analogue projector, Michelle creates shadows and distortions of the original images to capture the human form in a way that renders it almost unrecognisable. She is attracted to the graduation of tone and the way the colour slide images have become somewhat desaturated, some more than others, giving them a distinct vintage feel.
The curved image around the skin sits in contrast with the tonal drop out of the background. By manipulating the way the image wraps around the curves of the body Michelle changes the mood of a piece by playing with the elongated shadows and the way forms are stretched and distorted.
Michelle balances independent curatorial projects with producing new work for her photographic exhibitions.