Monday, June 27, 2022

Strangers and Friends: Interview with Ryan Roake

Ryan Roake is a photographer from South Africa

Modelrecs reached out to Ryan Roake to interview him about his photography practice. We find creatives, like Ryan, who are doing interesting work on Instagram and invite them to publish their content on our growing platform to engage with a global fashion industry..

An example of the work Ryan posted on Modelrecs can be seen here.

My name is Ryan Roake, I finished my diploma in photography at NMMU in Port Elizabeth where I started my photography career. As my portfolio began to grow in Port Elizabeth, I was persuaded by the family to relocate to Durban, South Africa KZN. My photography is mostly shot in natural light and consists of Fashion, Modeling, and Portrait photography.

Q: When did your interest in photography start and why did you start taking pictures?

A: I started at a young age, taking photos of strangers & friends at parties. I used to carry around a film camera. I then decided to take this further and started my studies in photography after I left school.

What unique perspective do you attempt to capture in your pictures?

I enjoy capturing the faces of all different races and I love that each one has its own unique quality to bring to the photograph. I like to use interesting backgrounds or foregrounds to create the look and feel of the image.

What are the advantages of shooting in South Africa?

South Africa has a variety of different cultures so this makes us different from other countries and this is what makes South Africa stand out. Like any other country, we also have our own unique landscapes.

Do you do your own casting? How do you cast for pictures?

I only do my own casting when I work on a personal creative project that I can call my own. I will look who could fit the profile for the shoot and I look for someone that can also bring my vision to life. I find that I am lucky enough to be able to work with all types of age groups so this can expand my search even more.

Do you have a core team you work with, for example, stylist, hair, and makeup? If you do have a team can you describe how you built the team? If you don’t can you describe your recruiting challenges and how you overcome them?

I do have the special people that I tend to use more often, but I am also open to new creative energy to add to the team. “The Search” – I call it the search because it had taken me a while to find my go-to Girls, When they are not available, I go out looking for other creative people that have similar ideas to mine.

How do you organize the tasks for your shoot to make sure you get the images you need?

I start by creating a mood board, this helps in the process because it can also be shared with the team involved to also help them understand the results I’m looking for, and they also add in their professional and creative input. Finding the perfect model is also essential. If designers are involved you want to make sure that these designs will complement the model and also vise versa with the designer as well as myself being happy with the outcome.

There can also be times when there are obstructions or uncontrolled events that have taken place during my shoot I call this the “Wing it” factor. The only way is to just keep it going, work with what you have, or put your mind into an alternative location.

Which types of clients do you work for? Can you describe the type of clients you would, ideally, like to work with based on your personal creative style?

I currently work for a homeware brand as a Studio Coordinator/Marketing Assistant. I control the shoots and manage the gear needed for specific shots.

I also work for a variety of model agencies. I am called to photograph their beautiful new faces that have joined their agencies.

I have recently enjoyed the magazine side of things, working with some of South Africa’s well known creative magazines. I assist the stylist’s in finding different shots or product for the PR Side for advertising. It would be great to explore this a little more with regards to photography.

How do you do location scouting?

Every time I get into the car and drive, I see this as an opportunity to come across the next best location/idea for a photo shoot, I try not to shoot in the same area often, but sometimes it can be a little impossible to avoid. I also research what other photographers are doing and where they are shooting. But in general, exploring your area is the best, sometimes even driving a bit out of my comfort zone is needed as well. it’s also a good excuse to move away from my editing screen and get out once in a while.

What role does the scene and setting play in how you go about capturing a moment in your pictures?

The setting and scene always play a big role in my photography, I am always looking for the most interesting background or location. When working with designers I make sure the environment goes well with the look and feel of the design as well as compliments the model. Capturing a moment always depends on the model’s capabilities, I will usually push them to a point where I feel it’s working or if it’s not working we will move on.

If you had to choose the perfect image that represents your work which one from your oeuvre would you choose and why?

A definitive image by photographer Ryan Roake

Gosh there are so many- How does one choose- I think I’m quite adjustable to any kind of photography; Fun, Gender, Age group, High fashion, Creative, Flash, natural.

All my work can be different.I have chosen the Photo shoot in Collaboration with Amanda Laird Cherry.

I have chosen the Photo shoot in Collaboration with Amanda Laird Cherry.

Team Credits 

Designer: Amanda Laird Cherry 

Model:  Meloh Mdluli

Agency: I Model Management 

Makeup: Blush Makeup by Candice

Stylist: Leigh Vermaak