His work is the work of an artist who is always on the move, searching, he is continually inquiring into reality and calling it into question. In Richter’s work the disquiet and insincerity that marks an Alexandrine, late culture, as well as skepticism and doubt, and the artist’s ironically tinged melancholy and moment of subdued happiness, have been turned to creative ends. — Section on Gerhard Richter in Taschen’s Art of the 20th Century
In the last few years I’ve photographed over 100 women, and met at least another 200 models and photographers. You can never please everyone, and even if I got along with 90 percent of those people I met that would still leave another 30 that I didn’t like.
One thing that puzzles me is when people I really like are friends with people I really dislike. It sometimes makes me scratch my head. But every interaction between two people is individual. There are lots of reasons you might not click with someone: styles, values, senses of humor. I know that my experience with someone is my experience with them, and that other people may not share it at all.
That’s one of the main reasons I don’t usually talk shit about the people that I dislike or have bad experiences with. I know that my interactions with them are just one data point, and I wouldn’t want other people to draw conclusions from that.
I’ve had people tell me that I’m arrogant, greedy, and other less nice things. I think the vast majority of people who know me would disagree, but that doesn’t mean the people with negative views are entirely wrong either. People are complex. I have low self esteem but I will also stand up for myself if I feel I’ve been slighted. I don’t normally think much about how to make money off of my work, but it’s become a concern for me in the last year because my photography drove me deep into debt. People can look at things I do or say and interpret them in many ways I wouldn’t agree with. That’s inevitable I suppose.
I told myself that You Can’t Please Everyone is going to be my mantra for this year. It does help me to remember that.
Justine Marie / Rich Burroughs
Impossible Project PZ 680 Color Protection film
What beauty means can never be said. Beauty is an experience and can only be justified by the heart. — Karl Lagerfeld, foreward to Mario Testino Private View
crustykitty asked: You spark so much creativity for me Rich, your work is breath taking, simple at times, but sweet and thoughtful in all sorts of ways. Being an aspiring model where I'm located is proving to be difficult, not only to find photographers open enough to play with nudity, but finding folks who simply want to make all sorts of art. So I hope one day i have the gift of working with not only you, but the many talented people around the world.
Hey thank you :)
If you have any interest in photography, consider doing self portraits. Some of my favorite models do them, even ones that also work with photographers. It can give someone the chance to build up some images that show them off well, and sometimes self shot images feel a lot more intimate than the ones done with a photographer.
Not everyone who wants to model wants to be a photographer of course. I wouldn’t suggest it if you’re not really into the idea. But if photography does interest you it could be fun. Also models that are good photographers end up having access to other models to shoot a bit easier than the average newbie photographer. They end up meeting other models and the fact that they’re women (assuming you are) is less threatening for some models.
A few months ago I participated in a project called 600 On A 600. The idea was that people passed around Polaroids 600 cameras in the mail and each person shot one pack of film with the camera. Everyone sent in all of the images from that pack.
I was hoping to shoot with a model but the person I had lined up had to cancel. It was going to be a week before I could line up another shoot and I didn’t want to hold onto the camera that long when other people were waiting for it, so I decided to take some pictures in my neighborhood instead. I actually used to walk around in NE Portland and shoot Polaroids pretty often, back before I started working with models.
The results weren’t ideal. The light was pretty crap the day I could shoot, and I’m not used to showing people all of the images I shoot. There are some of them that wouldn’t have seen the light of day if that wasn’t the nature of the project. But I liked a few of the shots and it was fun to do.
If you’d like to see all 8 shots I took, head over to the Snap It See It blog. I shot the images on The Impossible Project’s PX 680 Color Protection film.
Radeo / Rich Burroughs
This girl is so crazy photogenic, I got so many images I love in this shoot. She wore this outfit on the way over and wasn’t planning to use it as wardrobe, but I thought she looked adorable and wanted to shoot it.
jamiekate asked: I LOVE ALL YOUR POLAROID SHOTS! :) I got inspired to use my instax camera to shoot :) I have a polaroid camera but I have to convince myself to buy the films since they are very expensive. You are an inspiration! More power :)
Oh awesome :) I’m always glad to hear that my work inspires people. I get a lot of inspiration from the work of other photographers and artists.
The Impossible film is spendy, there’s no denying it. It’s almost $3 an exposure which is very expensive. I love the look of it though. The Instax film is actually really nice, I’ve shot some things I really like with it. But I hate their cameras. I don’t like shooting with flash and that’s really what they’re made to do.
Another option that’s cheaper film wise is the Fuji pack film, the peel apart kind. It’s the equivalent to the Polaroid Type 100 films, and the folding Land Cameras use it. I do sometimes shoot the color film, the FP100-C. It’s closer to $1 an exposure.
If you like the look of direct flash, though, the Instax stuff isn’t a bad way to go. I just really prefer softer light for my work.
I just bought over $500 of Impossible Project film through their web site. It was thirty packs, which seems like a lot, but I go through 4-6 packs a shoot. It’s not cheap but I think it’s very worth it.
Anyone who’s seen my recent work will probably agree that the new Impossible color films are lovely. The newest versions have the words Color Protection in the name, because they have an improved UV layer that protects the film while it develops. If you’ve tried older generations of their color films and had bad results I think it would be worth giving it another shot. It really is a huge breakthrough for them, the new films are much more reliable.
I find I get the best results with their films when I don’t shoot them in glaring bright light. I haven’t tested this scientifically, but I’ve shot a lot of their film in various conditions and it seems to me that the stronger color tones tend to happen when there’s less light. The film tends to look more “real” when things are more brightly lit. When I shoot it indoors I often use a tripod, because I can’t control the shutter speed with the cameras I use or even know what speed the camera has picked. I get some blurry images sometimes when I handhold the camera, so I will often just use the tripod indoors whether I’m sure I need it or not.
In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that while I’m not officially “sponsored” by Impossible they do give me occasional freebies, like a pack of film if they use one of my images in their newsletter, things like that. But it’s a small amount of film I’ve received from them (maybe ten packs total), while I’ve spent thousands of dollars on their films. I really do love them and recommend them strongly.
People ask me sometime why I’m not sponsored by Impossible and there are a couple of reasons I haven’t pursued it. The first is that I think the Impossible folks are doing important work and I want to support it financially. Just as I’d want to pay for a band’s record if I really liked their music, I want to pay for this film that I love. It’s in my best interest that they stay in business since their film is so important to my work, so in addition to paying for it I tell other people about it a lot. And second, I prefer to not feel like I owe people too much when it comes to my art. I like to have the freedom to do what I want with my work.
I may actually work with Impossible on some specific project down the road but at this point I’m good with being a happy customer, and hopefully an example of some of the cool stuff that can be done with their films.