in conversation with: GINO RICARDO
Gino Ricardo is a motion graphic designer who is fascinated by pattern. Almost two years ago, he decided to buy a camera to film his trip to South Africa. After the trip he was feeling like the camera was just collecting dust on the shelf. So in June 2019, Gino decided to take his camera to work on a daily basis and explore the city during his one hour lunch breaks. This was the start of the one hour lunch break sessions and later would expand to Gino photographing on the weekends. First starting with taking pictures of architecture and later expanding it to street photography. Gino loves shooting architecture, finding comfort in walking around alone in an unknown city and taking pictures of beautiful buildings.
When did you start getting interested in photography?
I started photography about a year ago. In September 2018 I bought a “serious” camera (Panasonic GH5 ) to film my 3 week trip to South Africa. The camera was bought with the intention to film my South Africa adventure and future trips and on occasion take pictures. After the trip I felt like it was a waste of money that the camera would just sit at home on a shelf collecting dust. At one point in 2019 I started to take my camera to work and use my one hour lunch break to take pictures. Before I knew it photography became a bit of an obsession.
Who are your favourite artists or photographers? Who has mostly influenced your style?
I definitely look up to photographers like Alan Schaller and Sean Tucker, Sebastiao Salgado, Fan Ho to name a few. I think that I got heavily inspired by Sean and Alan. I really like the philosophical side of Sean’s work and ethics and the super dark moody tones and diversity of Alan's work. I also get inspired a lot by other photographers whom I discovered through Instagram. I also follow artists like Lindsay Adler, Platon, Maarten Rots, and David Yarrow. Their work is so different from my own. I think that it is a must to keep an eye out for other artists who have absolutely nothing to do with your own work. Giving you a fresh perspective.
What is your favourite quote that resonates with you the best?
I have so many quotes, but one that has stuck with me is from photographer Sean Tucker. "The best images aren’t at the end of an expensive flight. They are just around the corner from your house if you are willing to take a walk and really see."
The reason I like this quote is that after my trip to South Africa in 2018 I started my Instagram page in February 2019. I posted around 20 pictures of nature and animals from my trip, and then I started thinking. How often do I go on a holiday and can I develop myself in this area with a lot of other travel photographers, who are traveling all the time? So I decided to try something else. Looking closer to home and discovering the gems in my own town and country.
The way you see architecture is not the usual way people would see it - graphic and composed precision. How do you find the composition when you are searching for that shot? What are some of the elements you try to include to make a good architecture image? And what do you do post-process?
Thank you very much for the compliment! When shooting architecture I always look for lines, patterns, details, textures, reflections and shadows in a building. Sometimes I see a building and know what I want to shoot and how to get the result I want. Other times it comes down to trial and error. I try different compositions and angles, from long to medium to close ups. Trying to find a way to make the work click. A lot of times I visit the same place multiple times and take the same shot in different circumstances or discover a new vantage point. I like to keep my images simple.
I do some post-processing. It begins with setting a building straight and cropping. Usually I bump up the contrast and make the shadows darker. Sometimes I dodge and burn some elements in my images, and on occasion I Photoshop little imperfections out of a frame. For instance a spec of light that is drawing attention in a scene where I don't want the attention to go. But usually I try avoiding this and keeping the image as authentic as possible.
Where is your favourite place to shoot?
For now my favourite place to shoot is in Rotterdam, Netherlands. I am always surprised by the new places that I see and am looking forward to new spots to discover.
You also shoot street photography and include them among your architecture photos in your Instagram gallery. Do you do anything differently to how you shoot and compose your architecture shots?
In street photography I mostly look for light and shadows. The difference between street and architecture is that for street I am solely relying on sunlight. So when it is raining you won't see me taking any street photos - unless you have beautiful reflections. For architecture I photograph all the time, it doesn’t matter if it rains or the sky is grey. I still need to learn a lot about street photography and keep developing this.
To be honest, street photography is a side hustle. Mostly I go out to get my architecture shots and then switch to street afterwards or when I see something interesting happening. The difference between street and architecture is the pace. You have to be on your feet and think fast. A moment is gone before you know it. In that moment you have to be able to take the picture or try another time. A lot of times I see good light and wait a bit for something interesting to happen. This can be a minute or ten. Architecture is slower paced. I can walk around a building and observe it and put more thought into what I want or what is interesting.
Has your style of shooting changed since you first started?
Yes definitely, I started with photos from my holiday and then started going to the city to practice my shooting. Shooting street and architecture. During this period I noticed that I like black and white architecture photography more. I also started to shoot more often with zoom lenses to get those detailed shots/close ups. First I used my 45-200mm zoom and after a while my girlfriend´s 75-300mm lens. Also my images became a lot darker.
Do you think equipment is important for achieving your vision in your photography? What would you say to someone else just starting out?
I think that the camera is just a tool, nothing more nothing less. The typewriter never wrote a book, but the writer did. The same applies for a photographer. Having said that I really like the system that I have, the portability of the body and lenses are just great in terms of weight. When hitting the streets I have two lenses with me and that is it. Making it very easy for me to travel with.
For someone who is just starting out I would advise them not to look to much at the specs of a camera but just start shooting. These days technology is so advanced that any camera you buy as a beginner will be a good camera. Use the time when you are beginning to discover what you like and develop yourself. Keep in mind that your needs can change over time as you develop as a photographer. If you can’t afford a camera in the beginning start with your phone.
Have you ever been involved in the artistic world before photography?
Yes, I am a 2D animator/motion graphics designer.
Are there any special projects you are currently working on?
Yes, I recently created my first book and made a video about it. I would love to go back out and travel to London, Paris and discovering some other countries. But due to COVID-19 this is pretty difficult. Time will tell when this is possible again but in the meantime there is lots to discover in my own town and country. And in the upcoming weeks I am going to create a short film.
If I wasn't photographing what would I be doing?...
Animating and designing for animation.