New York based editorial and advertising portrait photographer, Rick Wenner, has been up close and personal with many famous faces, capturing a look with a style of his own. He often shoots in black and white, a format which he believes mirrors his preferred minimalist style by focusing on the subject without distraction.
About Rick Wenner and his Photography
“I am a New York based editorial and advertising portrait photographer. There’s something about capturing moments with the subject in a one-on-one environment. My personal work tends to focus on people that I find inspirational and are doing incredible things in the world. There is a recent portrait that I did with a model named Yves Mathieu who has about 90% (maybe more) of his body tattooed. I never met him before I went to his apartment in Brooklyn. In his Instagram posts Yves will always have positive things to say about humanity, his life experiences, and he’ll even tell stories about people who have taken their own lives due to bullying so to inform and inspire others to stand up for themselves. During the portrait session, I learned that although Yves will get strange looks because of his tattoos and mixed ethnicity, he will never let that weaken him and change his attitude. I wanted my portraits of him to show this strength that I see inside of him but also some mystery and character.”
“My personal work tends to focus on people that I find inspirational and are doing incredible things in the world.”
The Inspiration Behind the Portraits
“My work used to be heavily influenced by photographers who are naturally inspirational to beginners. I always used to refer to the work of Platon, Martin Schoeller, Annie Leibowitz, David LaChappelle, Danny Clinch, and Mark Seliger. Nowadays I still am interested to see what those photographers are doing but I don’t let it influence my work anymore. I want to be able to create portraits that the viewer says to themselves “that’s a Rick Wenner photograph”. I like to keep things minimal and as simple as possible so that I can focus completely on my subject. I want to create work that you will remember for a long time, just like the work of photographers I’ve always admired. I want to tell the stories of people that I find inspirational so that, hopefully, someone else will find inspiration in them as well.”
What’s Special About Black and White Photography?
“Minimalism. Simplicity. I feel that color can sometimes (not always) be distracting where a black and white image is stripped down to its core. You are forced to see the image in its purest form of simplicity. If I’m shooting an environmental portrait, I let the space and the subject influence what it will be like. For my studio portraits, it’s almost always on a grey or black background and with one light. I like to keep things minimal and as simple as possible so that I can focus completely on my subject.”
What Using Phase One Medium Format Means for Wenner’s Work
“Detail is a very important part of my photographs. My Phase One Camera System allows my photographs to have an incredible amount of detail in them. This system is simply beautiful! I am currently using a Phase One XF body with the IQ3 50MP back and Schneider 80mm LS and 55mm LS lenses. I purchased Phase One gear because of the incredible quality in color tones, sharpness, image detail and functionality of the equipment. I tried a few other systems but was just much more comfortable and happy with Phase One.
“My Phase One XF and IQ3 50MP allow my photographs to have an incredible amount of detail in them. This system is simply beautiful!”
When I first switched to Phase One gear, I was instantly hooked. The quality of the images just felt so much better to me than dSLR. I still love using my dSLR from time to time but I’d say I use the Phase One on about 99% of my projects. It has a specific image quality that you can only get from digital medium format. I’m also forced to slow down and really take my time when shooting with the Phase One camera. There’s no rapid burst mode and only one focal point, which I love. I was forced to just take my time and find the right moments to capture. It’s too easy to just fire away with a dSLR sometimes.”
Rick Wenner shoots using the Phase One XF Camera System with IQ3 50 MP Digital Back and Schneider Kreuznach 80mm and 55mm lenses. To learn more about his photography, check out Rick’s website at www.rickwenner.com