Begin with David Ralph
How did your journey begin?
I originally wanted to study fine art, I had dropped out of business school ( my parents thought I should have a safer, more conventional education, I disagreed obviously ) and had started a portfolio class to get some work together to apply for Art School. Part of the course was photography and I really fell in love with how direct it was. I found it very easy to get my creative ideas across. I would never know when a sketch or painting was finished, I never had that problem with a photograph
Where do you find inspiration for a new project?
I like to study past photographers ( Paul Strand, Erwin Blumenfeld etc ) and my favorite place in London where I live, is the National Gallery, I love the simple lighting of the old masters such as Caravaggio. They only ever had one light and their eyes were the lens. By keeping these artists fresh in my head I look for ideas, usually, with a nod towards nature, that will keep my brain engaged. I love having a long personal project running alongside my career as a commercial photographer as It can be a nice place to escape to.
Photography is competitive. How do you stand out?
That’s a tricky one. I think I’ve developed a style now and I try and stick to it and hope other people will like it. I also try to be very easy to work with, No one likes to work with dick heads, I assisted a few and It’s very unnecessary.
Tell us about your career as a fashion photographer. How did you get into it?
I originally wanted to be a portrait photographer but I was randomly booked to shoot a Beauty Cover for a magazine. I liked the creative process and sense of teamwork and thought I would like to make a career out of it.
How would you describe your visual style?
I try to keep my work simple. I tend to start with one key light and then start taking light away with flags. I think it's all to do with looking at old paintings. I like Stillness!
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
I grew up in Scotland and spent a lot of time in the mountains growing up. I'd love to take a year off and spend my time wandering around the Himalayas taking shots of whatever crosses my path, Unfortunately, my clients wouldn’t take kindly to a year of radio silence.
What is your most life-changing event?
My first year studying photography in Glasgow, I had the best teacher and she nurtured our whole class and gave us the courage in that first year to go out and give it a try.
Who is your biggest mentor in life?
At the moment it is my Digital Operator….Good assistants are like gold dust and he’s the best I have ever worked with. I also work a lot with the Stylist Stevie Westgarth, we recently did a big Collections shoot for Hunger Magazine with each look based on a different movie, I love his ideas and watching him work is an absolute pleasure and above all... he has his work/life balance totally right….I need to be more like him as I tend to have a problem switching off. But on a more serious note I don’t think it can be narrowed down to one person or thing. Without wanting to sound a bit daft I think being alive and life are the best mentors. You just have to try and listen and always be open to learning.
Do you get photographer’s block? If so, how do you overcome that?
Sometimes. I try not to panic and take lots of walks with my dog and eventually an idea will pop into my head.
What are you working on? And what are the future projects you are excited about?
I’m currently prepping to start a long side project on an area in Scotland. I love Paul Strand’s book ‘The Outer Hebrides of Scotland’….My idea isn’t quite as broad as that but I wanted something that will include Portraits, Landscapes and Abstract details. I’m not sure where it’ll take me but that’s a best thing about it.