Sue Earnshaw and Lynn Pearce first met almost 30 years ago in Sydney Australia. With a successful career in IT, Sue had yet to ‘get the bug’ for the first wave of Digital cameras entering the Australian market. Whereas Lynn, a film photographer since 1978, had enjoyed moderate success through her picture framing business exhibiting her Kodak Colour landscapes from her studio. Predominantly self-taught, Lynn expanded her skills towards B&W film photography by attending a few Fine Art Photography printing courses between 2002 and 2005 to learn dark-room techniques. The following year, Lynn prepared for her first B&W exhibition entitled ‘Landmarks 2041’ – all printed on silver gelatin paper in the dark room she had hired.
Around the same time, Sue had decided to leave Sydney to start a new life in Cornwall, still working in IT but immersing herself in nature and wildlife photography in abundance where she lived close to both the sea and the moors.
Moving forward to 2019, Lynn and Sue had reconnected via social media delighting in their shared common ground – photographing nature. Sue was gradually easing away from her successful IT career and Lynn had closed the doors on her framing business in Sydney after 32 years at the helm to return home to England. Having spent a decade in B&W, Lynn redirected her passions back to her landscapes re-editing earlier images from monochrome to a more diffused ‘autochrome’, a new technique explored by a few of the early 19th century European photographers.
With a portfolio of English, Australian and US landscapes at the ready, Lynn made her debut at Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight with her exhibition ‘Feels Like Home’.
It is from this juncture Sue and Lynn realised the potential for a joint exhibition of their works with Lynn’s atmospheric landscapes creating an easeful foundation for Sue’s vibrant wildlife imagery from the African plains. No sooner had Lynn taken down the remainder of ‘Feels Like Home’, a month later the pandemic turned all of our lives upside down. Bookings secured to exhibit were cancelled or held ‘until further notice’ across the country. Enter the challenges of the world as we now experience it due to the devastating impact of Covid-19 globally. The ripple-effect for visual and performing artists alone, including their audiences, may never be fully calculated given how many artists and creators autonomously work.
For the foreseeable future, small gatherings and travel were under a cloud. We wondered how we could reach our collective audiences given both movement and physical meetings were restricted or completely prohibitive, whilst social media was finally doing what it was designed to do. Connect people!
From Sue’s cosy timber studio in Cornwall – Labyrinth Gallery emerged as our shared response to the uncertainty of the times ahead for all visual and performing artists and their audiences.