Documentary Photography of Tim Richmond

Tim Richmond is an internationally acclaimed British photographer. He applies his unique aesthetic to a range of work that covers landscape, documentary, portrait, fashion, and travel. He has travelled widely across USA and Europe and has worked for major publications including The Telegraph, Vogue, Vanity Fair, etc.

Images featured here belong to Tim’s 7-year-long project ‘Last Best Hiding Place’ (2007-14). It is his contemporary odyssey shot across the US states of South Dakota, Montana, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado through a landscape of filmic references in the American West, revealing stories true or imagines. Tim answers simple questions about himself and his work:

- Tim Richmond photographyPlease tell us about yourself and your relationship with photography. I’m not sure how old you are but your profile on your website hints that you are quite ‘senior’ to other photographers we have featured so far. Beside the technological aspects, what major change do you notice in the realms of photography of past and present?

I have been a photographer for 30 years, starting as a portrait photographer, and evolving to fashion, then documentary. Working for clients such as Vogue, L’Uomo Vogue, Vanity Fair, Telegraph Magazine amongst others, but in more recent years focusing on documentary personal projects the first of which was published in fall 2015 by Kehrer, Last Best Hiding Place.

Changes in photography in the commercial world are one of ownership: by that I mean that digital has allowed many other people to feel they have a say in the way an image finally appears. The need to adapt to the increasing usage of moving imagery.

All of these apply less to the fine art photography marketplace.

Bar, Byron, Wyoming - Tim Richmond photographyDid you ever form an artist statement as a photographer? What does photography mean to you and how do you view your evolution as a photographer?

Yes I routinely have to form artist statements, it is something that you get used to doing. For myself, photography is a version of a purity, a paired down curated frame around the world.

Evolution is a form of linear, where by a multitude of micro decisions, you arrive at a style, and that style is ever moving forward.

Broadway St, Sheridan, Wyoming - Tim Richmond photographyHow did you develop a keen interest in documentary (or documentary-style) photography. Beside the fine-art/documentary work, what kind of work of you like to shoot most?:

I have always had a keen interest in documentary style photography, it seems to me the pure essence of what photography is at heart: a photographic document of a moment, whether that moment is true or not.

Other than documentary photography, I also make short films.

Brothel, East Mercury St, Butte, Montana - Tim Richmond photographyTell us more about your recent projects and their artist statements. Your photo-projects are deeply humane and cathartic. How do you conceive of or come across the themes of your photo series?

I recently completed Last Best Hiding Place, which was a seven year epic journey through the American West. The book was a contemporary look at the everyday and overlooked aspects of the West, with a cinematic set of reference points.

Currently I am working on a long-term project in the west of England.

The projects evolve from single ideas to long gestation periods depending upon circumstances.

Dawn, Cody, Wyoming - Tim Richmond photographyWhat are your method(s) or critical approaches of shooting and how much of your work is carefully planned vs. instantaneous?

Much of my work is based around selecting a place to go, and then wandering around, getting a scent for the place and people. The shooting is mostly very simple stylistically, available light, one camera, one lens, often a tripod.

I know that you’ve been shooting with film cameras all your life. Do you keep a walk-around digital as well, just to keep pace with others? How challenging is film photography in a digital world?

I still shoot on film because the final result pleases me more when I print in the darkroom. The flavours however subtle are there.

East Park St, Butte, Montana - Tim Richmond photographyI carry with me a phone, in case of needed to take a recce photograph to remind me of something till I get back another time with the film camera. I like digital as an aide memoir.

I rather like to concentrate on slowing down rather than speeding up as a mantra for working. A challenge of digital is teaching pre-visualization of the image, and I would recommend turning off the screen whilst shooting.

What do you think about contemporary photography?

I think it is an amazingly exciting era for photographers, with all the various outlets for work to be seen. More galleries are opening, and a great increase in the number of people appreciating great photography. Therein lies a conundrum as I am more skeptical about the ability of people to make a living from photography now than previously, but there are ways, you just have to discover the best route.

Main St, Eureka, Utah - Tim Richmond photographyWhat are your future plans/projects, ambitions, aspirations etc.?

I am currently working on several projects, one in UK, and another in the US, as well as several short films.

Tell us about your influences and favorite stuff: photographers, quotes, films, books, music etc.:

I admire: Robert Frank, Walker Evans, Wim Wenders, Terrence Malick, Roger Deakins, Paul Thomas Anderson, David O. Russell, Martin Scorsese, Francis Coppola, Edward Hopper, Alejandro González Iñárritu, Joel Sternfeld…

Main St, Harlowton, Montana - Tim Richmond photographySomething to say to our readers or aspiring photographers (or random words of wisdom):

A quote from Wim Wenders:

“without dreams there can be no courage, and without courage there can be no action”.

Main St, Shoshoni, Wyoming - Tim Richmond photography Meth, Harlowton, Montana - Tim Richmond photography Oglala Sioux Reservation, South Dakota - Tim Richmond photographyAll photos © Tim Richmond : Website | Twitter | Facebook

About Nishant Mishra

Nishant studied art history and literature at the university during 1990s. He works as a translator in New Delhi, India and likes to read about arts, photography, films, life-lessons and Zen.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s