Do you remember when you first picked up a camera? What did you first start taking pictures of?
I remember first starting to take photos with my phone’s camera—funny photos for friends. I was always looking for a creative outlet, but I kept hitting a wall in my creative endeavours. The biggest one was music. For a long time, I played the guitar and tried to make music. Oh, dear… My musical ability is, well, lacking. It frustrated me that there was no sign of natural talent in me to hang on to while trying to get better. When I started taking these funny photos, though, the responses were very positive. The photos weren’t great, but there was creativity in them. And promise. So from that point, I was motivated to start taking photos of the world around me and develop my skills.
Part of why I was so happy to start developing my photography also was that I have a lifelong wish to become a movie director. Well, not for all my life: First, I wanted to become a father with a moustache, then a carpenter, but very quickly and at a young age, those dreams were replaced by a dream to become a director. I love movies and have always loved movies. It had never occurred to me that I could get into photography as well until I started making these photos for my friends.
After I decided to get into photography, I started making photos of the world around me. Whenever I would see something that caught my eye while walking around, I would make sure to photograph it. These would mostly be urban landscape photos, or photos of nature. I also started making some self portraits, but wouldn’t post these yet. Later, a model called @larabeard4444 on Instagram followed my account after I followed her and liked my photography, so asked me if I was interested in model photography. That’s where my journey into model photography started.
How would you define your photographic style?
Difficult question! I often don’t go in with a plan, so what comes out is whatever comes out. Although I do feel there is a recognisable character in many of my photos. Or at least in the portraits. High contrast, gentle, and maybe a bit spontaneous, I suppose. High contrast, because I have no professional lights. So I don’t fill in the dark areas. Rather, I love the dark areas. Gentle, because I try to establish a good relationship between me and the model. I’d like to think they feel comfortable and that it comes through in the photos. Spontaneous, because I like the photos in-between poses best. I feel I’m better at reacting to what’s put in front of me, than thinking of poses and telling a model what to do.
But that is what I’d like to see in my photos. Ultimately I do not think it’s up to me to define my photographic style, but up to the people who have to look at it. An artist always has a different way of looking iat their own work than the rest of the world does and will often define their work in an unhelpful way.
Do you shoot in digital or film?
I shoot digital. I love the look of film and would love to be able to shoot film, but those aren’t my priorities right now. Also, I have a lot to thank my camera and camera brand for, so I’ll keep using digital probably the rest of my photographic career. Although when I look at the amazing work of people like @knoxbertie on Instagram, I always want to learn how to shoot film right away. haha
What camera do you use?
I used the Panasonic GX80 for a long time, and now switched it for the Panasonic G9. The GX80 started getting me into proper photography, because that camera just made photography so much fun. Panasonic cameras click with me. I can customize them the way I want so there will be as little camera as possible between what I see and the photo.
What is the one item you can’t live without in your camera case?
It may be an easy answer: Something to take photos with. Ultimately that’s all you need. That, and time. This counts for portraits, nature photography, abstract, you name it. Of course, there are things that make life easier, but nothing else is absolutely needed. And to be fair, my camera case is rarely ever filled with anything else, besides a camera and lenses.
Actually, now that I think about it, there may be something. If ever you do nature photography or photograph models in nature, take long trousers and rain boots. Definitely not shoes made from cloth. I mean: Imagine doing portraits in nature, wearing your cloth shoes, and just fully stepping into cow dung. Your shoe sinking into it completely and the juices penetrating your shoe right to your sock. Just imagine. That definitely never happened to me, though.
You mentioned that all your photos use natural light/table lamps. What is the biggest challenge you face working this way, and how do you overcome it?
Yes, I use natural light, and when there is none (like a night shoot) I just use the artificial lights available to me. I suppose challenges are less agency and bad lighting in the night. I usually just have to accept what the sun gives me and I always have to work with shadows. That suits me quite well, though. I already said I like to work with high contrast and also that I like to react to what is put in front of me. So I feel quite comfortable with these challenges.
For me photography is discovery. I find photos, rather than creating them. Since I’ve started photography, I’ve also started looking at the world around me through a different ‘lens’, so to speak. Literally, of course, but also figuratively. The light, the lines, the shapes, the movement of nature are what inspire me. So that is what I want to capture. And humans are very much a part of nature, the world.
There are those who are amazing at creating photos and directing models. I admire those people for what they do. That is just not how I like to make my photos. And maybe I am just not really good at doing things that way. So I’m in my comfort zone when faced with the challenges of natural light.
What inspires you to take the photos you do?
Pure emotion. Photography has given me an opportunity to connect more to the world around me and search for the beauty in its shapes and colours. It has also given me an outlet for my own emotions.
I see in your photos you have worked with two models at the same time, did that pose double the number of challenges?
That’s right, I have done one photoshoot with two models. In fact, there were two models and two photographers. The models were @larabeard4444, @thecookielover.x, and the other photographer was @mike.speijk. I had already worked with the models and they are an absolute treat to work with. So it didn’t really pose any problems to have them together. Mike and I were also giving each other plenty of room.
I suppose it could be challenging to make two models feel at ease at the same time, and you have to be lucky that they feel comfortable with each other. In this case that wasn’t a problem at all, though. It was a wonderful day.
As well as being the photographer, you have posed for the camera. Did that feel a little strange to be on the other side of the camera?
I have posed for other photographers a couple times. Mostly I just pose for my own camera. When making self portraits it feels very natural. I can give myself plenty of time to try and represent the emotions I want to represent. Posing for other photographers was interesting. I felt it would be a good experience to go through the same thing the models who model for me go through.
I felt very aware of myself during the shoot. Very aware of parts of me that I normally wouldn’t be thinking about as much. Suddenly I smelled my sweat very strongly and I felt every part of my body move when getting into a pose, trying to position my feet correctly, or give my penis a more presentable pose. It’s very insightful to get a feel for how vulnerable one feels in such a position. It was great fun, though. I would love to do more modeling.
Do you have any plans for the next two years?
During the Covid pandemic my photography has stagnated a little. I mostly do self portraits at the moment. My plan is to pick it up again. I may want to try more abstract photography. Besides that I was thinking of doing video, trying to get closer to my dream of becoming a director. And who knows? Maybe people feel like asking me to model for them.
Professionally I want to change to a different job. I was looking at something in healthcare.
Are you currently looking for models? If so, what is the best way for models to contact you?
I want to pick up my model photography again, so I’d love to work with new models! If someone would be interested I suppose the best way to reach me is through my Instagram profile: @when_rick_shoots. Just send me a message. Also, you can send me an e-mail: email@example.com.