Hamburg-based photographer Paul Ripke is a self-confessed autodidact, having never formally studied his craft – he’s completely self-taught.
Perhaps this is why he’s so practical about his photography, telling us from the start that, “Being a photographer is not just about taking photographs. It is a business. You need to be creative and you need to know how to use your equipment, but at the end of the day, this is all just theory – you need to go out and actually do something.”
Ripke says his work is defined by change, and particularly with his street photography he tends not to edit much, preferring a rougher edge. Back in the studio he prefers a shiny and jazzy look for his images, created by well-positioned lighting from just a single source. Some post-production is needed here to get the final look but “Luckily, I have very talented people in my studio for the final touches!” he confesses modestly.
Ripke employs different cameras for different situations. In everyday life and reportage work it’s a lightweight Leica M9, because people tend to act more naturally in front of this camera. But the TEN Collection required a Phase One iq180 with studio lights and flashes.
Joining the TEN Collection seemed perfectly a natural move for Ripke: a chance to work with artists from other countries, mixing up styles to create a unique hybrid artwork. “Diversity,” he told us, “always creates the best results. We organised some crazy stuff to keep everyone entertained and to create some great shots in the limited time we had.”
“What was the plan for the image?” we ask Ripke. “Was there a plan?”
“I wanted to include some sports that fit in with the surroundings” explains the photographer, “And we wanted to do something that pictures the city Hamburg, as it has some cool buildings and skylines – you can see the “Hafencity” (the big port) in the picture.”
It does look very cool, we agree, which makes Ripke smile mischievously before adding, “And some naked people.”