Rick Barks was born in Staffordshire in 1964 and moved to Derbyshire in 1969. After leaving school at sixteen he worked as an engineering apprentice for a large nationalised industry in Derby. However he soon developed a keen interest in music and spent most of his spare time travelling up and down the country playing live music with a group of friends. Eager to travel he moved to Spain where he found himself teaching English, and it was there that his growing interest in photography took off, when a friend kindly lent him some darkroom equipment.
Rick returned to England to study photography, and after completing an HND at Bournemouth and Poole College of Art and Design he worked for a range of clients from a small academic publisher to large Japanese design agency. Prior to this he also gained experience working as a photographer’s assistant, set builder for a pop video production company, and later as a graphic designer.
Still keen to develop, Rick joined the Masters Degree programme at the University of Westminster in London while continuing his freelance work, and it was there, alongside some inspirational tutors and peers that he developed a thorough understanding of contemporary photographic practice.
He has spent the last seventeen years teaching photography in a number of colleges from Burton to Brighton, and is now a Senior Lecturer in Photography at Staffordshire University.
His own work, rather than being centred around any specific photographic genre covers photomontage, audio visual installation and image appropriation, as well as other more traditional ways of working.
The work featured here takes a different direction; the two projects LOCUS and Elsewhere form an ongoing exploration of both the solitude, and sense of intoxication experienced when time is spent alone in a rural environment. All images use multiple exposure to sidestep the blunt instrument of description (indeed these places don't exist) and to create a complex, visual experience that echoes the curious and visceral sensation of being alone.
The work is made in and around the Staffordshire Moorlands and the Derbyshire Dales that surround his home town of Ashbourne in Derbyshire, where he lives with his partner Teresa, their two children Jack and Phoebe, and a dog called Archie. .