Born in 1968, a year marked by its explosive promise of a new age, Alain Richard was not to be boxed into a traditional career. Interestingly enough Alain Richard’s passion for photography began with his love of soccer as a young boy. Watching sports photographers snapping away during soccer events he attended with his father, he yearned to be in their shoes. And while traditional schooling did more to frustrate than educate him, he found his calling at IATA (Institut des Arts Techniques Sciences et Artisanats), a school in the town of Namur in his native Belgium, which taught him the art and craft of photography.
His first job led him to fashion photography and not, as might have been expected, photojournalism. At twenty-two, he began traveling the world establishing himself as a budding talent in the field. At twenty-six, he built his first professional studio in Brussels. Yet, his early success was not enough to satisfy his desire to be the best at his craft. Alain aimed much bigger and to get there he needed to learn from the giants of international fashion photography. Paris, the capital of High Fashion, beckoned him. Without hesitation, he set out for the City of Lights as an assistant to the masters. That turned out to be one of the most exhilarating and enriching experiences of his life.
He left two and half years later, after he was offered his own advertising world campaign. In the two decades that followed, he thrived with more big fashion and advertising campaigns interspersed with commercials directing while spreading his wings to that other fashion capital, New York City. Professionally, Alain’s editorial work was published in numerous magazines, such as ELLE, Marie-Claire, DS Magazine. His fashion advertising campaigns landed in the pages of W, Vogue (American and French Editions), and others. He also collaborated with leading brands like Cartier, Paule Ka, Levis, Nivea, Eucerin, Focus Dailies, Daikin, Canal +, Mobistar, Ben-Q, Ford, Yamaha, and Delvaux.
Now in his forties, Alain Richard is exploring new and uncharted territories. His experience and talent are beyond question; he is at the top of his game. But now his passion is enticing him away from the world of fashion and guiding him to his own unique artistic expression. The light, which always fascinated him, is the focus of images dedicated to celestial bodies, beginning with Earth’s most faithful satellite, the Moon. His first series, simply called The Moon, was taken in the Atacama Desert, possibly the oldest and driest in the world, at the foot of the Andes in Chile. The captured reflection is almost surreal, perfectly symmetrical and free floating in the infinite void. The bright white glow it owes to the Sun often takes on more shades depending on atmospheric and other natural phenomena. The artist accentuates these by illuminating it with vivid coloring as if they were radiant pigments, shimmering like jewels against the black velvet of the heavens.
And as if the moon had not already entered human mythology and captured not only the endless motion of the tides but the dreams of men, Alain’s newest project shows he’s still not done with his latest obsession. What with the far side of the Moon, always hidden from men’s sight? With its forever-locked waltz with Earth, the Moon always shows the same face, its Near Side, with its large dark fake seas, its maria. Hence, for his most recent work, named the Far Side, Alain went looking in the NASA photo archives taken during the 1972 Apollo 16 mission with the intention to expose the Moon’s obscure visage. Choosing a different perspective and casting a luminous new light, he works the images using various techniques. The result, however, does not take away from the seductive mystery of the dark side of the Moon; instead it emphasizes its mystical attributes by unveiling only the parts it allows us to peak at. Like a sly lover, the Moon, in the hands of the artist, teases and reveals only bits and pieces with the whole still a beautiful enigma left to artists and poets to interpret and swoon over.
Alain currently lives between New York and Brussels.