David Richardson lives in a ‘behind the scenes’ adventure. Music gigs, artists, late night parties, beautiful women, (drunken) friends and drunken crowds are some of the subjects found in this London based photographer’s work. His pictures are somehow realer then life. Maybe that’s because of the film grain, maybe it’s because of the moments he chooses. I don’t know, but whatever it is, it keeps us coming back to his photos time and time again!
When looking at your photographs, it feels like you’re in a huge adventure in a total different era, is your life really that adventure?
I’ve always been fascinated by stories and adventures, like Medusa, Treasure Island and The Killing Joke. I love the pace, action and drama. In real life I’ve always gone for it and taken chances for adventures, but I guess I was introspective as a teenager and thought a lot about existentialism. So since then I’ve always tried to seize the moment and see where I’d fine myself. I’ve got a few bruises and some torn clothes. But memories can’t wait.
I see you shoot analogue as well as digital, what makes you shoot with one over the other, and what do you prefer?
I used to shoot digital. I’m going to sell it in the next couple of weeks, it’s gathering dust. Last time I used it I felt dirty! Wanna buy a D80 with a 50mm 1.4? I guess if I was forced to shoot with digital it’d only be something I didn’t care too much about like the ebay listing for the D80..
I think film simply has more soul. I don’t know if it’s the breathing grain, the colours that are better or just some magic in the chemicals. I think digital has it’s uses and I’ve heard great things about new digital backs. But for portraits I wouldn’t use digital.
What kind of camera’s do you own and shoot with, and what are your favorite kinds of film?
I own a beautiful on the inside Yashica T5 that’s gone to hell and back for the ride, a Rolleicord and a beautiful Minolta Autocord. I’ve also used a Nikon Fm2t and a Contax T3, that were both great cameras. With film I tend to use what I can get my hands on. They all have different uses. I shot Kap Bambino on 20 yr old film to get a grungy fucked up look, but I tend to use Portra Nc a lot.
You shoot a lot of musicians and music gigs, (which really ads to the ‘almost famous’ feel). How do you end up at those and what do you like about shooting those?
I’m a groupie! I guess I’m just really passionate about music so naturally gravitate to these kinds of people. I used to shoot a lot of gigs, but now unless it’s a small gig I’d much prefer to dancing and listening. Unless someone is an incredible performer one way or another it’s better to get a proper portrait without some mic sticking up their nose.
What got you into photography in the first place?
I’ve always been into art, but found it hard to concentrate and focus my energy on it. I first got into photography just to remember days out like everyone else. I guess I’ve gradually got more obsessed with it. Now I’m pretty much possessed. I’ve been shooting properly for just over a year.
How do you choose your moments?
I guess a lot of it is about instinct. I think you have to totally give yourself to that moment. Shooting from afar will always give a different feel and neither is better it’s just the energy. I tend to walk around with my camera in my hand, ity suits my style and gives me that bit more time. I’m slow I need it. But I think you can sense when thing are going to happen, good or bad.
From your photographs it appears that your friends are very important. Can you tell us a bit about them? (for example, we sliimy coming by a lot, who seems like quite a character)
Yeah I love them. I guess it’s easier when you know someone well, but I’ve not really taken serious photos of a lot of my friends who are doing well like Golden Silvers or Micachu and the shapes. I find the hardest shoots are with the acts I admire most. The Invisible are one of the best bands out there and they are the nicest people too but I found myself quite nervous trying to capture their sound in one frame. But I do think it’s important to know about your subject. I do take candids of everone all the time though.
So I have to ask, how did you end up shooting Nick Cave and how was that whole experience?
Well I guess it’s been the highlight so far. He’s a real musical hero of mine. I didn’t get much time with him. Literally 5 minutes or less. I took one shot and it was ok, but I didn’t feel like I got anything from him, it was the same pulled face I’d seen in other photos and I didn’t really want that. So I asked for another shot. I made some silly bit of banter and then as I couldn’t get any more words out I looked in the direction I wanted and he looked. He was pretty pissed off. I think he hates photographers, so I had the shot I wanted.
You’re also a musician yourself, as part of the band ‘the blind hands’, described as ‘Two acoustic guitars having drunk breakup sex at a party’. Can you tell us a bit more about this?
Well we have fun, we’ve been so busy with other stuff so it’s a bit quiet but we’re both still writing songs and soon we’ll get back to working with our drummer. Just wanna change the direction of it a bit. we’re both massive music geeks and I don’t think the sound was that true before.
Okay, now a terrible question but since you’re a photographer and a musician I have to ask: Deaf or blind?
Damn can’t I lose my dick instead?! Or actually my nose it’s big but doesn’t seem to do that much!
Do you have any particular goals with your photography?
I just wanna keep shooting and get some shots that I can be proud of and hang up. I guess I’ve been poor my whole life and spending half of my dole money on photography each week means I’d like to be able to get some meals from it all!
What can we expect from you in the future?
I think I’m going to start experimenting shooting what I do now but with black and white medium format, so I’m going to have to start learning to develop myself and I need to get the right camera. It sure won’t be on my TLRs, that and I just wanna do more and more and more!!