Rick Bronks – Featured IPA member
I hate the cliché of starting a bio with ‘I’ve been interested in photography since I can remember’.
The problem is In my case it’s actually true – but it just took me a long time to realise it.
I recently discovered a shot of me taking a selfie- I was probably around 7/8 years old. I think the camera is a 35mm Chinon rangefinder camera. My folks used this for all the family pics for years. It had a fixed lens – but was pretty much all manual. I also remember playing with my grandfathers Polaroid Land camera and marvelling at how the flash cubes worked. I never saw a print from that thing – not sure it was ever used.
My whole live has been recorded on both 35mm and Cine film. My dad was (and still is) very keen on the whole family movie thing, so I’ve pretty much been surrounded by film from the day I was born.
For my Barmitzvah present – when most kids wanted toy cars and robots I wanted an SLR. It was a Chinon CP7-m and I took it everywhere.. on my trip to Israel when I was 16 it was taken with me everywhere – with a tripod and a small collection of Cokin filters. I hauled the bag up the rock of Masada at 4am to capture the sunrise over the desert.
So I suppose it was kind of inevitable that I would end up as a photographer – but it took me 20 years of frolicking around with other things before I finally found my niche.
I finished my Media and Communications degree and spent 10 years working in TV, eventually producing various shows before setting up my own production company which made some pretty cool stuff for corporates and also a TV documentary. I learned how to shoot broadcast TV as well as edit.
Then.. one grey London afternoon I had a sort of epiphany and remembered that I really missed photography. I loved shooting and editing video but my past drew me back.. I bought a 40D and lens, and landed a gig to shoot a portrait for a magazine.
In the last 5 years I’ve seen my business grow at a lovely rate – and it’s all happened totally organically. I was able to network while I work, and people liked what they saw. Word spreads and I have some lovely clients and the list grows weekly. I never take this for granted.
Now I get to have a career that is my hobby and I shoot some pretty cool stuff. It’s awesome!
The need for me to innovate is crucial. Images that become repetitive or boring wont ensure more commissions.
I’ve had to embrace the DSLR/HDSLR revolution with open arms and it’s been a good thing I have. Some of my clients are asking for video and stills work so it works out well.
My current kit is a 5DIII and 1DX and a bunch of lenses. I also own a Leica M with a collection of lovely Leica glass. I adore the back to basics of the Leica way – pure manual control, and ironically not too dissimilar to the rangefinder my folks had. I use a Sony RX100III for home video and for keeping in my pocket.
Forging a niche as a photographer in London is tricky, and clients are ever more demanding but it’s all about the mix of personality, talent (and for me) a lot of humility. Hopefully I manage to have a little bit of both.