Interview with with Concept Photographer:
Today we're talking to concept photographer Logan Rhinerson. His photography has been described as Dark, and Surreal. He is an emerging photographer from the Kentucky. This interview was corresponded through email.
Jordan Schmidt Photography: Hi, So what's your name? And tell us a little about yourself.
Logan Rhinerson: Hello my name is Logan Rhinerson, and I'm a beginning self taught photographer
JSP: So before we go any further, what's your mindset as of this present moment before we continue this interview?
LR: I hope I'm doing this right.
JPS: So where is it you call home?
LR: I live in the city of I live in is Owensboro Kentucky.
JMS: Well that's where you live. But If you could live anywhere on this planet, where you would go?
LR: I'd love to live in London. I've traveled there and loved it.
JPS: So what inspires your photography?
LR: I'm inspired typically by common phrases. I like to take them and turn them into an image that best represents that saying
JPS: So with that in mind. How would you describe your style?
LR: People say it's dark, which it is, but I feel like that's too broad a term for what I'm trying to do. It's not the kind of dark that you would see in a horror movie or anything, but more of a surreal dark like Silent Hill. It's how I've always seen things, so that's what I want to show.
JPS: Your photography is very trippy if I say so myself. So what do you specialize in?
LR: I wouldn't really say I specialize in it, but I've kind of settled into artistic photography. I've done a bit of everything, but I enjoy being able to tell stories with my pictures in a way that not too many people can.
I think photography is being able to show others the way you see the world.
JPS: So you said ealier you like taking common phrases, and making them into images representing them. So what in your words would you personally say make a good picture stand out from the average?
LR: I think personality and a good story is what stands out to me in a good picture. Many pictures seem like cookie cutter pretty pictures, but they don't stand out.
JPS: So what does photography mean to you?
LR: I think photography is being able to show others the way you see the world.
JPS: So were you formally trained?
JPS: So you're not formally trained. So who, or what made you want to become a photographer?
LR: This is an interesting one. I got my first camera back in middle school because I saw a book on how to shoot trick shots. They were just things like the touristy holding up the leaning tower type shots, but it peaked an interest. I lost interest for at least a decade, but decided to give it another shot after living with a photographer and playing "Life is Strange." I then found Brooke Shaden and noticed how her style was similar to the images I had in my head, so I started studying her stuff.
JPS: So are there anything or anyone that inspires your images?
LR: Like I mentioned before, I really like Brooke Shaden's stuff because I can really connect with her pieces.
JPS: So what equipment do you use to get your images the way they are?
LR: My equipment is pretty basic. I have a Nikon D3300 with an 18-55 mm lens, a 100mm macro lens, and a 55-300mm lens. I also have a basic lightweight tripod and a remote shutter release. That's about it for right now. For what I've done so far, it's actually more than what I need.
JPS: Out of those, if you had to hold onto one, which lens would you use?
LR: I'd have to say out of the three I have, it would probably be the 55-300mm lens. The difference in range allows for a lot of flexibility.
JPS: So why don't you tell us a little bit on what you're working on at the current moment.
LR: Right now I'm working on a group of images that are all artful conceptual pieces. I've got about 4 in the works.
JPS: So we've discussed what you're working on, so why don't you just walk us through your actually process as you set up your piece.
LR: I like to plan everything that needs to be done and how it will be done before I even go out to location. This typically includes post-processing. Once I get a concept, I try to think of the color of the scene, if it's dark or happy, poses, location, story, etc. I don't like to do self portraits, so I usually go out and try to find a friend or somebody who would be willing to be the model. Once I've got an idea of what I want to do, we'll go out to location and shoot almost everything right there. The shoot itself doesn't take very long. Maybe 20 minutes tops. I then go home and put everything together. I'll edit, wait a day or two and comeback to take a second look before finalizing the image. My last image consisted of 3 shots and a texture, but turned out as probably my best shot.
Over time people learned that they could get away with putting in minimal effort and people would still like what they had. All it takes today is a filter to make any picture turn out looking pretty. It's the auto-tune of photography.
JPS: So you're a photographer. So what do you think of the photography industry at the moment, and where do you see it in 5 years from now?
LR: Right now, I feel like I may have a leg up in my area because the market for photographers who do family portraits, landscapes, headshots, etc. is extremely oversaturated. As far as I know, I'm the only one in my town who does what I do. It's easy to get lost, so it really helps to find a style that's yours and stands out from the photographer three houses down. Thinking about the social media question you asked, I'm kind of worried that photography will go down the same path that music did. Over time people learned that they could get away with putting in minimal effort and people would still like what they had. All it takes today is a filter to make any picture turn out looking pretty. It's the auto-tune of photography.
JPS: One of the main discussions in photography today is how social media plays in the photography field. What is your thoughts on this, and how do you feel about applications such as Instragram impact on photography as whole?
LR: I feel like there's a positive and a negative side to social media and photography. The biggest upside I think is the publicity you can get off of it. It's the easiest way for people to see your work, especially if you're in an area that doesn't have many ways to show it off in person. It also allows the photographer to show themselves to the clients that they're a person, and not just somebody who's there to take their picture. The downside I see with it though is that apps like Instagram, while being a huge help for photography, has over saturated the market. It shows people that all they have to do to make a pretty picture is pull out their phone, take a picture, and add a filter. It can make anybody think they're a good photographer when they're actually lacking a lot of substance.
A year or two later I decided I wanted to learn how to play guitar. I did that for several years until I picked up the bass in early to mid high school. The transition was pretty simple since it's laid out the same way as a guitar.
JPS: So do you personally think of the color vs. black and white argument when it comes to photography when it comes to your photography?
LR: I think it varies from image to image and day to day. I'd say I lean a bit more towards black and white. It just seems classic. I haven't personally done any black and white, but I do enjoy it if it's done right.
JPS: So going back to what you mentioned earlier, the auto-tuned of photography. Were you a musician previously, or was this just a random phrase you threw out?
LR: I'll give you a quick rundown of what happened. In 6th grade I started out on trumpet, but got switched over to baritone after a few weeks. That's how I learned to actually read music. A year or two later I decided I wanted to learn how to play guitar. I did that for several years until I picked up the bass in early to mid high school. The transition was pretty simple since it's laid out the same way as a guitar. I was in a few bands, but most of them only lasted a few months at most because of several different reasons.
The downside I see with it though is that apps like Instagram, while being a huge help for photography, has over saturated the market. It shows people that all they have to do to make a pretty picture is pull out their phone, take a picture, and add a filter.
JPS: So Is there anyone out who you would love to photograph if given the chance?
LR: I don't think there's anybody particular that I'd like to photograph. I'd take a hobo if I thought it would work for the picture.
JPS: So where you do you think you'll be in 5 years, and what would you like to be doing?
LR: 5 years from now I'd like to be making money making art pieces and living somewhere other than here. Preferably a bigger city.
JPS: Lastly how can readers find out more about you?
LR: Right now they can find me on 500px and Instagram as alteredfatephotography. I'm still working on the whole facebook page thing though.
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What's in my Gear Bag
This is my first time doing this. I've always carried a gear bag, and over the years the gear inside has changed quite a bit. This is what is in there as of the moment. The bag itself is a US-GEAR bag, that I got at Central Camera Company. It's one of my favorites to use and I carry this bag, because it's just enough space to carry what I need without overloading on weight. If you're ever in Chicago, look this place up, it's phenomenal, and just a wonderful resource to have.
1. Guess Wallet: Made of genuine leather. It's slightly packed, but trust me it's not full of bunch of money. It's actually full of business contact cards. Which (if you read below) is a good thing to have on your person.
2. Gel Ink Pen: It's nothing fancy. I actually got used to just simple pens, back in my more photojournalism days. Just enough to quickly jot down names, details and whatever else I need for captions, or photo releases.
3. Notebook: Made with genuine leather(I'm sure you're noticing a pattern,) and with Mohawk Superfine paper, it fit's right in one of the corners of my bag. It's filled with client's names, caption ideas, general notes, and details. It's just about filled as of the moment. I was taught in school that you should always carry one. Professor Tim Broekema drilled this into my head.
4. Facoln Tactical Flashlight: For when it gets dark, or I just want to paint with light. It's actually pretty bright. I don't usually advertise things, but man it really does work. It's so bright, and to be honest it's just nice to have on to make me feel safer on Chicago streets.
5. Canon Camera Batteries: You never know when the camera is going to die, especially when you're shooting a wedding. I carry plenty of backups. As a professional note, whether you are doing a wedding, or just a simple portrait job, keep backups.
6. Yashica 44: This is a wonderful TRL camera. I don't carry it around a lot as the film for it is a little more rare, but I love using it when it comes to street photography. When it comes to street photography I tend to use film. This get's switched out with my Pentax MX, Olympus XA or Yashica Electro. Just something either quiet, and/or light on your person as a backup. Equipment will break, so always plan for it.
7. Daniel Wellington Watch: Made with brown genuine leather band, and a simple white face. I like simple watches what can I say. It's just a simple battery powered. I understand having smart watches, but just the fact of having to charge them all the time has turned me off from wearing one most of the time.
8. Sigma 50mm 1.4 Macro with Lens Hood: I use this when I do portraits. The color, and detail on this is just wonderful. Sigma is a great company, and I love it more than my Canon Lenses. If I have a session with a client this is usually attached. Really recommend. Sigma never gets a great rap, when it comes to things, but to be honest they are a wonderful brand, and usually a better cost effective option.
9. Canon 50mm 1.2 Lens: If i'm doing street photography I have this on at all times. It's quick, quiet, and while i'm focusing, and setting up the scene it does all the heavy lifting. It's a wonderful starter lens, and for street photography a nice prime lens. Though personally a 24mm sounds lovely.
10. LensPen: I'm maybe a bit overzealous, but I like to keep my lenses clean. I always keep this, as well a microfiber towel. The lenspen is a lightweight addition to the bag. If you really need it, it can fit right into your front pocket with ease.
11. Samsung Galaxy s7 Active: I am out and about a lot. So while i'm not doing headshots, I'm out shooting. It can take a tumble, so I needed something that could as well. Plus I'm just a fan of android. It also has a lot of options such as a compass, barometer, and other nifty options, for the photo adventure in you.
12. Canon Speedlite: When shooting weddings, or even with a headshot, this handy little guy is with me. I carry it along with a lightbox, and a flash sync cord. You can call yourself a natural light photographer, but either way having a nice way to do fill light is a must if you do portraits.
Canon 60D Camera: I don't always use film cameras. Actually the opposite. I am an avid digital fan. I grew up using film, and in darkrooms, but when it came to the changing of the age, I acclimated, and joined in. It's a wonderful mid-level camera. This crop, instead of full frame, but I plan on moving up to a 6D Mark ii.
How I became a Photographer
The journey of how I became a photographer started even before I was born. Now when most people say this, it's a hyperbole, but in my case, it just seems fitting. My real father was photographer, and was a bit of a deal when it came to metadata. His name was David Riecks. For more information on him, you can check the Library of Congress. Now my mother and him, never worked out, but being a photographer became something that was put into my blood. I never grew up knowing him. Instead I was raised by a wonderful supporting mother and step-father who in essence I look as my actual father. Thank you to both of you for that.
As I grew up though, I was entranced by photography, and different photographers. The names Richard Avedon, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Robert Capa influenced me, and when I got my first camera I tried my best to imitate them. Their work in photojournalism, and street photography influenced me enough to go to college for it. I eventually did go to college, at Western Kentucky University to learn under the likes of Tim Broekema, and Jeanie Adams-Smith. Both who concidentally worked in Chicago where I currently now reside. Go figure. During those years I attended the Mountain Workshop, and interned at the Chronicle picking up more story, and journalism skills.
After college I padded around as a freelancer learning on hand street photography, and learned, and interned under a few local wedding photographers. It's been a long journey, but how I became a photographer is from love. I encourage anyone, for whatever field you you're interested in, just go for it. It's a tough ride; it's tiring, and it's definitely not an instant gratification, but if you really love it, just hold on. For if it's love, it's worth every inch you go.
Now you know how, but why did I become a photographer. Really the reason is more of an idea list reason more than anything. I wanted to help change the world for the better. I learned from the likes of Nick Ut, Kevin Carter, and Jeff Widener that just one photograph can have a profound effect on a nation, or even history. Nick Ut for example changed the landscape of discussion on the Vietnam War. I wanted to do that. I wanted help make a better world. I thought to myself, if there was a way if I could leave a fingerprint on history, that's how I would do it.
More than that, there are a moment in time forever caught, Frozen in time. Beyond my hard times, I still people, or at humanity as a whole, despite the horrible things we have done. That is why.
It's simple, but in all reality, it's in my blood, and I. The end I really didn't need a reason. It's just who I am.