Kenrick Rampial is a designer / photographer I came across on PhotoNet.com. One can immediately recognize his talent which is why I sought him out for a spotlight interview.
JRP: Thank you Kenrick for sharing your time and talking to us.
Kenrick Rampial: It was really a pleasant surprise when I received your email and considering the great spread of talent on PhotoNet I feel truly honored by your request. I must say thank you for this opportunity.
JRP: Where do you call home Kenrick?
Kenrick Rampial: James, home for me is the beautiful island of Trinidad. I reside in an area known as Lange Park which is located in the Central region of the island, that is the Borough of Chaguanas. In the last few years though I have been servicing a few clients in the island of Barbados which is now like my second home. I must admit that many of my friends and associate there would like it to be home for me and I am considering that option.
JRP: What formal training do you have?
Kenrick Rampial: My formal training is in the area of Graphic and Applied Arts and Visual Communication.
I must make special mention though of Mark Lyndersay, one of my lecturers, who did an introduction to photography with the class back in 1993 as a short course during my studies. I believe he planted a seed that germinated over some years and began to sprout just over a year ago.
JRP: What equipment and software do you make use of in your work flow?
Kenrick Rampial: James most of my earlier work was done with a Canon 400D, a speedlight flash, a photoflex reflector and lots of improvisation.
Three months ago I acquired a Smith Victor light kit which consists of 2 (300watts monolights), 2 (100watts compact flash units), 2 umbrellas, 2 softboxes, stands and a boom.
At that time I also added a Canon 40D. I am still pretty limited with lenses using a Canon EFS 18-55, Canon EF 75-300 and a Canon EF 28-135 USM along with a couple of UV, polarizer and neutral density filters.
I use both PC and Mac platforms in general but for my photography work I use a Macbook pro with a Maxtor 1TB external firewire drive for additional storage.
Adobe Lightroom is my preferred software for importing and managing my images and Adobe Photoshop CS3 is where any additional post processing is done.
JRP: You have been a member of PhotoNet.com community for less than a ear. Has this association been beneficial and are there any other groups you belong to?
Kenrick Rampial: Definitely so. Getting some pretty low ratings on my earlier work was a rude awakening for me that I have a lot to learn. This motivated me to experiment and to push myself further. I made many friends on PN and they also encouraged me with their comments and suggestions. Some of the folks I’d like to mention whom I think have definitely impacted on me in a positive way are Roger Leekam, PhoS Sant, Tony Hadley, Maurizio Rossi, Allen Hunt, J.K. York and Rakesh Syal. I also belong to the group “JPG Magazine” and I recently joined “Redbubble”.
JRP: As a designer do you feel that you have advantages other photographers don’t?
Kenrick Rampial: I wouldn’t necessarily say advantages, but I do believe that my training in design to a great extent influences my style of photography. It does work in my favor however when I am shooting for projects that I have designed myself, as I have a first-hand understanding of what I want to achieve in the middle hen the two disciplines are combined. It’s not always easy to direct myself though as I constantly have to look through the lens and then away from it to maintain the right balance.
JRP: Take us through some of your thought processes as you capture say a portrait.
Kenrick Rampial: One can find two types of portraits in my portfolio, the impulsive and the planned. Many of the portraits of my nephews are often quite impulsive where I just let them be themselves. We have loads of fun and they can be so creative on their own it amazes me at times.
My commercial work goes through extensive planning where mock-ups and illustrations are done and presented to the client.
I like working with people that have the same energy and likeness for what I am trying to achieve and almost always employ the services of my good friend and make-up artist Leasel Rovedas.
I respect the importance of accurate lighting and I make several adjustments and test shots before I am ready to start shooting. Once I have briefed y models and everyone is comfortable and filled with the right energy the process becomes very natural.
Most of my recent portraits are of my girlfriend Neola and we
connect very easily since she is able to read my own body language and even my thoughts.
In general though I always try to capture part of the model’s personality into the shot, even if it’s a commercial assignment.
I think this helps to create a successful image regardless of the message.
JRP: What is your workflow like in your digital darkroom?
Kenrick Rampial: It’s quite a simple process. I shoot all my images as digital CR2 (Camera Raw) files and import them into Adobe Lightroom. They are categorized and stored on my external hard drive. Any minor tweaking to the exposure, brightness/contrast , etc. is done in Lightroom itself and the best images are selected.
If any further post processing is required, this is done in Adobe Photoshop CS3 and the final image is exported as a high-res jpeg file and sent to my graphics department via a wireless network, where it is placed into a final layout for approval by the client.
For my personal work the process is the same but after post processing the images are stored in another folder on my external drive for archiving.
JRP: Kenrick what is more important to you, technique or vision?
Kenrick Rampial: James, while I recognize the importance of technique I would have to say ‘vision’ for a man without vision cannot see where he’s going. I have been able to improve on my technique by studying the work of professionals but I believe what makes my work different is the vision that God gave me to see things a certain way and that is something I couldn’t improve on. In fact if I had a different vision I would probably be doing something entirely different.
JRP: What is the best advice you have received so far about photography?
Kenrick Rampial: Roger Leekam’s advice that the quality of the photos you take has very little to do with the type of lens or camera that you own. It’s what’s in front of the lens and who’s behind it that really matters.
JRP: Thanks again Kenrick for sharing with us some of the things that make up your photographic vision.
To view more of Kenrick Rampial’s work please visit; http://www.photo.net/photos/kenrick