Photographer Kris Rodammer
By day, I work as a creative director doing brand design and advertising. Most of my spare time is spent working on photography.
Photography is my personal form of creativity and expression – it also provides a way for me to look inside myself and explore my inner workings. It’s a kind of therapy, I suppose.
I’ve made photographs since high school, but haven’t been a photographer of people for very long. I’ve been tremendously influenced by classical photographers and painters – Irving Penn, Albert Watson, Rembrandt, and Vermeer are top of mind. I appreciate not only their art, but dedication to craft. That said, I try to work spontaneously, improvise, and see what comes of the moment between myself and my subjects.
I’m an INFP – which will be meaningful to some people. Very curious. Somewhat of a procrastinator. I know a little about a lot of things. I like to make things – photographs, of course – I am also interested in furniture design. I often make wardrobe for shoots as well.
I’m greatly inspired by travel – exploring great cities and absorbing as much about the people, culture, and sights as possible.
Which place do you call home?
I have lived in Boston for many years, though I’m originally from Detroit. So I’m a Midwestern guy at heart.
Are you self taught or schooled?
I went to college for photography and graphic design.
How did you get into photography?
When I was in high school, my dad sparked my interest in photography when he gave me the Ricohflex 6×6 camera he used while in the Army. Initially, I used it to make time exposures of nighttime traffic on the Detroit freeways.
How long have you been a photographer?
I’ve been making photographs since high school, but I have never worked as a professional photographer. I’ve been photographing people for about five years now.
As you look through the viewfinder, what is the most critical moment in capturing your image?
On occasion, everything comes together in a seemingly magical way. You can definitely feel it. The mood is right. The light is right. You’re in the zone, The model is in the zone. And you both rise to the occasion. It’s a wonderful feeling. That is the critical time to be fully in the moment, get out of the way, and let it happen.
How would you describe your style?
I would describe it as sensual portraiture. I have a classic eye and I respond to beautiful light, composition, gesture, and expression.
What do you think makes a truly memorable photo?
A photograph is memorable when it allows you to see a moment in time that’s different from your usual realm of experience. It can be a glimpse of a situation, an object, or an expression. It’s an image that affects you in a deep emotional way, intellectually, or simply in its formal arrangement of elements. Of course, iconic photographs connect with you on many levels.
We know each of us has someone or something that inspires our life and work. Can you tell us the true basis of your inspiration?
My inspiration, as it relates to photography, comes from viewing the work of other photographers. Work that compels me to expand my own vision and the potential of image-making.
What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion, of course, is the style of the time, whatever form it takes. What is considered fashionable used to be measured in decades, now it seems like days, so it’s ever changing. Personally, I’m not at all fashionable, but I’m a keen observer, and greatly enjoy the parade.
What’s the craziest/funniest thing that ever happened in one of your shoots?
I’m hard pressed to recall anything crazy or extraordinarily funny. I will say that many shoots are lighthearted and quite fun. I think they are intimate social events.
What photographers from the past or present have influenced you the most?
I’ve been influenced most by Irving Penn, Albert Watson, and Peter Lindbergh to name a few. I also love the work of Paolo Roversi and Deborah Turbeville.
What has been your favorite photo location or session?
I love working in a daylight studio when I can.
What type of cameras do you shoot with?
I use a Nikon d810 with 50mm, 85mm, and 105mm lenses.
If you had to choose one lens which one would it be and why?
I have a fondness for my 85mm lens because the image looks and feels right to my eye.
Do you prefer flash or daylight?
I prefer window light over any other kind of light. However, I often use a single strobe out of necessity and try to emulate window light with it.
What is your favorite photography accessory, other than your camera?
I’m a minimalist, so I have very few accessories. My Gitzo tripod is a favorite.
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
I know very little about Photoshop and try to use it sparingly. “Get it in camera,” was a good lesson learned from my film days.
How important is a website and social media for your business?
You can barely exist in this world without a connection through social medial channels. Today, a website is secondary.
Do you listen to music while doing your shooting? If so, what are you playing right now?
Yes, music definitely sets a mood for a shoot and encourages movement. Thank god for Spotify. I’m not listening to anything right now, but I love blues.
What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography?
Everyone takes their own path, so I don’t have specific advice. I’ve made photography a lifelong pursuit, but very little comes easily for me; so I really have to work at it. Eventually though, the hard work starts to pay off. It’s particularly rewarding when I’ve practiced something long enough that it becomes second nature and intuitive.
What lies ahead for you?
I do a lot of self reflection and still don’t have an answer. I don’t have a clearly defined plan. It’s very old school, and I don’t feel ready yet, but I would like to produce a book at some point.