Richard is a landscape photographer who shoots the majority of his work on medium format, using a Fuji GX617 panoramic film camera. His excellent attention to detail such as light, colour and texture, lets him create images that have been liked and bought by people who live all over the world.
Where are you based?
I am based in Titirangi Auckland, however the nature of being a landscape photographer means I travel a lot in search of the next image. A big priority of mine has always been to build an extensive international collection of imagery so I am fortunate that my photography compliments my other great passion, which is travel. When I am at home I find no end of inspiration in the awesome West Coast beaches of Piha and Karekare etc, which are about a twenty-minute drive away.
How long have you been a photographer?
I first picked up a SLR camera at about the age of twelve. However it was while living in London in the mid 90's that I discovered the amazing power of medium format panoramic photography and I was hooked. Since then I have mostly dedicated myself to this format.
Tell us a little about your style of photography.
My work is primarily about capturing the moods, feelings and light of scenes created by nature. Capturing the intense colours, textures and scenes that come from the natural environment motivates me. This is in the belief that a beautiful photograph has the ability to move us deep inside, to inspire or motivate us or simply allow us to pause and reflect in our busy lives. I use a lot of long exposures to capture movement and don't tend to stick to the rules with composition.
What gear do you use?
In my medium format range I primarily use a Fuji GX617 - a completely manual camera with an aperture of 6cm by 17 cm per frame. I also have a 6cm x 12cm Noblex 150 UX, which features a rotating lens. For these cameras I exclusively use Fuji Velvia 50 ASA film and my Manfotto tripod. For standard images I have a Nikon D700.
Do you have a favourite lens? - If yes what is it and why?
My favorite lens is the 105mm, which is fixed to my Fuji 617. The main reason it is my favourite is the beautiful f45 aperture setting, which allows me to capture images with incredible depth of field. The result this camera and lens give is like looking out the window to a glorious scene.
What is/has been your greatest challenge as a photographer?
We did a six-month photo-trip through India, Nepal, Tibet, Cambodia and Vietnam where my primary camera was my medium format Fuji 617. The logistics in hauling all of the 120mm film around on this whole trip and keeping it constantly safe is not something I would recommend.
What do you feel has been your greatest photographic achievement to date?
I am fortunate that many of my limited edition photographs and posters and calendars are brought by people from all around the world and it is the knowledge that my photographs have made their way into other people's lives that is probably my greatest achievement to date. I have never been motivated by awards primarily - instead I wanted to inspire and move people and create photographs and products from those photographs that people find beautiful and want in their lives. The feedback I get from customers is a hugely rewarding part of what I do.
If not a photographer, where would you see yourself?
This is a tough one, as I would still need to feed my creative side - so perhaps a graphic designer or web designer.
If the chance arose, who or what would you most like to photograph?
I still have many places I would like to photograph. I would love to trek the Inca trail and have already visualized the photographs I would take at Machu Picchu so this is probably top of my list. But close behind are many other places I would like to photograph including a photo safari through Kenya. I would also love to do a serious expose of the USA and closer to home I am always inspired shooting in Australia and the South Island.
What tips or advice do you have for budding photographers?
Find your niche and go for it - opportunities are everywhere especially in this exciting connected world we live in. Use what you have in terms of equipment - if you don't have the latest cameras or best lenses don't worry about it, your skill and passion will get you there not the latest and most expensive equipment. Keep practicing, keep learning and always be networking.
Has the advent of digital been beneficial or detrimental to professional photographers?
Without a doubt the advent of digital has been beneficial, however this is coming from a photographer who still largely uses film and whose favourite camera is completely manual and doesn't even have a battery. Having said this the digital world we live in is exciting and transcends across so much more than ever before - a large component of my business is online with most of my print sales being from overseas clients and the emergence of social media is only going to extend this allowing me to reach people like never before.
Are you a fan of using flash in your work?
None of my images have flash in them at all. Instead they are all created with natural light. I am a purist in terms of creating photographic images of natural beauty and this often means being in a location when what I call the 'magic moments' happen. These moments are often at dawn or dusk when for a brief few moments a third-dimension of surreal natural light enlivens a scene and all the elements of an amazing photograph can come together. I sometimes have to pinch myself, as often I will be the only person remaining at a location when these natural magic moments of light happen.
In your opinion, what makes a good photographer?
Firstly for me it has to be about passion - this will shine through in the images created. A sense of composition is of course necessary but the ability to read the light whether natural or studio is fundamental. You can learn the technicalities but a photographer has to be able to read a scene, to learn to see an image coming so that when that right moment is there they have everything in place to capture it.
What do you do to get away from the grind/to de-stress when things get too hectic?
Mountain Biking is a great de-stressor for me as is music of which I enjoy a wide variety. However the greatest balancer is spending time with my daughter - there is nothing like a four year old to remind you of perspective and seeing the world through such amazing eyes.
What or who motivates you to keep doing what you do?
There is so much more I want to achieve with my photography business that I feel I have only just got going. So self-motivation has always been a big driver for me but I also read a lot of motivational books and I have a mentor who is excellent in terms of keeping me on track.
Click here to visit Richard's website