“I like the imagination of the viewer to determine what it means to them. We all take from a photo what we want to believe.”
Tim Richmond is a contemporary photographer from the UK. His photography is inspired by movies, and thus his photographs often seem like film-stills, cut out scenes from a motion picture.
With his images Tim Richmond appeals to the imagination of the viewer. For Tim Richmond photography is a springboard into a narrative that unfolds beyond the frame. In this interview, he talks about the cinematic appearance of his pictures and his ongoing series “Love Bites”.
Interview with Tim Richmond
Tim, you once said that your interest in photography was triggered by watching movies in the 1970’s. What did get you hooked?
Many of the movies in the 70’s were produced by a maverick band of producers, who were true fans of the art of film, so it was a great time for independent movie making. I was attracted to America through such movies, and began my attachment to USA as a great film set!
Indeed your images often seem to be cut out scenes from movies. How do you achieve this cinematic look?
The film still feel is a conscious decision of long-standing. I like places that suggest stories, empty rooms conjure up narrative possibilities. People I have concentrate on their own situation, not looking at camera.
You define photography as a “springboard into a narrative journey”. How descriptive do you pretend to be with your images and how much do you like to leave up to the imagination of the viewer?
“We all take from a photo what we want to believe.”
I like the imagination of the viewer to determine what it means to them. We all take from a photo what we want to believe.
In your ongoing series “Love Bites” you focus on the area around the place where you live in the West of England. What made you embark on this project to photographically explore your proximity?
I had been considering how to photograph this part of England, and settled on the series, which is on going as a polar opposite to some of the American series that I have recently been working on.
You mentioned that this particular body of work also deals with “Englishness”. What does this term refer to and what does it mean to you?
What I meant was this is a vision of a part of England seen through my “filter”. A world where wet car parks, reside next to transvestites, reflections, hotel foyers, generally photographed in the winter months when the crowds have gone.
At the beginning of each project one often has some kind of idea in mind as to what the result could be like. Sometimes that changes along the way and the result is quite different. Was that the case with “Love Bites” and if so what did you learn during the project?
What I learnt was that the more “ordinary” the view, the more powerful it became, photographed in the rain. The project is constantly evolving as I find new people and places to discover.
You are a traditionalist, an analogue photographer, enjoying film and developing your images in the darkroom. Why?
“I like the look that I can extract from a negative.”
I have seen no reason to stop using film. I have tried digital, yet the end results combined with the work practice all put me off. When you print your own colour images you become deeply involved with the “look”, and I like the look that I can extract from a negative.
Why do you consider it important to still working the old-fashioned analogue way? And what can you learn from analogue photography that helps you to become a better digital photographer?
I believe that pre visualization of the image in analogue photography helps the creative process. I think we live in an era when some can work in analogue, others in digital. It is important that each photographer decides what is relevant for their style.
Susan Sontag once said “The camera makes everyone a tourist in other people’s reality, and eventually in one’s own”. How has photography changed the way you look at the world and what have you learned about yourself?
“I seek only a version of the truth, that is my reaction to the images.”
Photography permits me to see lives that otherwise I would not have known about. I seek only a version of the truth, that is my reaction to the images. Others will bring their own experiences to that same image and depart with a different viewpoint. That is the pure essence of photography.
Every photographer is going through different stages in his formation. Which “landmarks” do you recall that have marked you and brought you to the place where you are today as a photographer?
One landmark that was hugely important was through extensive experimentation with the processing of the negative, I was at last able to find “my colour”, not the colour set by Kodak or Fuji. Once owning and being able to control the colour palette, I started seeing the full possibilities of working in colour.
Last but not least, let’s switch roles: Which question would you have liked to be asked in this interview about your work that I didn’t ask? Please feel free to add it – as well as the answer.
I think we covered it. Thanks.