Chintan v4 (1)
We spoke to Luke Richards, the Preston based photographer and artist behind ‘Meet the Characters’ – a photography commission for The Living City.
Luke Richards has resided in Preston for the last 16 years. He works with a number of agencies across the North West of England
and has been commissioned to photograph assignments both locally as
well as in the South and London and even as far afield as Norway. Richards work has always been inspired by community and the people that he meets.
A major exhibition was achieved in Preston back in 2012 where Luke set
out to instigate and deliver a photographic project from start to
finish, with backing from Arts Council England, entitled ‘100 Guild
Faces’. This was a series of large scale black and white prints of faces to represent Preston during Guild 2012.
Describing his commission for The Living City Richards said he “set out to deliver something a little different from the norm and other common ideas”.
“The project shot during the global pandemic of Covid 19 was to not
only discover and meet those whose lives had changed for better or
worse but also to discover where it was locally that had given them
comfort during these uncertain and unsettling times”.
You can see more of Luke Richards work on his website.
Q&A with Luke Richards
What affect, if any, has the lockdown had on your creativity ?
Initially I felt a creative block, but very soon after I started
looking at ways to keep me focused and to help me stay creative.
It was nice to have some time to step back from things for a while
which in turn allowed me to slow down a little and evaluate ways of
shooting and creating images – looking at the way the world was
changing at that time and listening to podcasts for inspiration in how
people were reflecting and feeling – this led me onto the project for
The Living City and to develop a new way to see and create the final
What role do you think art can play in making a city a great place to live, work and play?
Art is so important for a city – something that is both accessible,
visually stimulating and something for all ages. I think during lockdown it has become apparent to everyone that art
and nature are so important as a means of escapism and inspiration.
What have you lost or missed in lockdown?
The main thing that I have missed during lockdown would have to be
the contact with people, the friends and family that you would usually
interact with differently.
What have you found, or rediscovered in lockdown?
Time and the way we rush all of the time.
It has been nice to slow down and it still feels like I am in a bit of
weird time zone.
Everything is just still a little odd still at the moment in terms of
the way the world is changing and the time elements.
What are your hopes and fears resulting from lockdown personally and for the arts sector?
I try to stay away from the fear as there is so much uncertainty. Instead I see a big opportunity to move forward and develop as a photographer and I sincerely believe that people will now appreciate the arts a lot more.
Photography, sculpture, film, theatre and the arts generally have an
opportunity to reach those that may not have considered their
significant role in the past.
There is an opportunity to reach a wider audience and I may even start
to produce artwork again to sell again – (which I did for many years
but I havent done for over 5 years ) ..so watch this space!
Artwork should be present on the streets, as installations and prints
throughout every city, I firmly believe there is certainly scope for this to happen throughout Preston.
In terms of personally – right now, times are changing and its time to
reevaluate and move forward the best we can. It’s time to create and time to create roles and opportunities ourselves.
You can see the complete collection of Luke Richard’s ‘Meet Preston’s Voices’ series here.
The Living City project is produced by They Eat Culture, & supported by the Community Lottery Fund & Arts Council England.