British photographer Robert Darch's ongoing series Durlescombe, which started in 2020, sketches an imaginary village of the same name in southwest England. It recalls the actual villages of the rural region around Devon, where the artist's ancestors lived. Durlescombe is an autobiographical search for traces between fiction and reality that challenges the genre of documentary photography as a medium true to reality. Darch skillfully plays with the medium of documentary photography and the assumptions it evokes in viewers. Durlescombe draws compelling images of a non-existent place. The photographs are artificial and multi-layered: her compositions combine historical family photos with her own photographs, archival footage with found illustrations. The artist wrote about this:
«Durlescombe is an ongoing series of photographs made in Devon in the South West of England. The work documents the people, landscapes and local industries of a fading rural culture and in doing so explores my own identity and attachment to a region where generations of my family once lived and worked.»
For more about the fictional nature of his series, see here.
Robert Darch (*1979, Birmingham) studied documentary photography in Newport, Wales, and Plymouth. Since 2020 he has been part of the traveling exhibition Facing Britain curated by Ralph Goertz (Museum Goch, Kunsthalle Darmstadt, Mönchehaus Museum Goslar, Museum of Photography Krakow).