Luke Richards

Luke Richards (b.1995, Cardiff) is a recent graduate of the Documentary Photography course at USW, Cardiff (formerly Newport). His work aims to connect with contemporary political dialogues through allegorical image making; documenting and unpicking the mechanisms through which social change occurs. The heavily allusive and seemingly performative aesthetics are central to the challenging and intervention of conventional documentary practice, therefore untying the photographs from a singular or linear narrative thread. As such, the blurring and synthesis of boundaries and mediums is vital to the production of the photographs and the reflexive position of the artist.

Under Black Sun

In his vision of creating a unique, homogenous identity, Mussolini created the concept of the New Man, placing himself as the hegemonic masculine ideal and using the language, symbolism and values of the Ancient Roman past to gain popular support. It was an attempt to oversee a reclamation of Roman virility through the performance of a dynamic and charismatic character, proliferating this image through various forms of propaganda in radio broadcasts, speeches and still and moving images. At the height of his power he oversaw the construction of large, state-of-the-art, film production facilities that were home to vast sets of Ancient Rome; itself surreally located within the capital city.

Under Black Sun traces this legacy through the performance of it’s modern-day followers, once again depicting the New Man against the backdrop of contemporary Rome. Across Italy, like Europe, the influence and appeal of the Far Right is increasing and with this a complication of how the country confronts and recounts its various histories. The reaffirmation of these values indicates an inability to reconcile the displacement of their identity and value system within an increasingly globalized and progressive West, once defined by their Ancient ancestors.

Shot on motion picture film, the work follows how Far Right political parties in Italy continue to use the Fascist aesthetics of Roman symbolism and gladiatorial performance to promote their agenda; blurring the lines between reality and the cinematic, present and past.

To view more of Luke’s work please visit his website.

Issue No.13 – Call For Entry!

Paloma Shutes
Photo Editor
The California Sunday Magazine and Pop-Up Magazine
San Francisco, California

Aint–Bad No. 13 Call For Entry is officially open! We are teaming up with a new group of guest curators and editors from all over to collaborate on a publication that seeks the best contemporary photography being made today! Learn more about each of these talented curators and submit today!

Paloma Shutes is Photography Editor of The California Sunday Magazine. Previously, she worked in the photo departments at Wired and GQ, where she commissioned photography recognized by the Society of Publication Designers and American Photography.

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