Interviews  / Stories

Interview: Monthly Tom Rider (Germany)

Tell us about You!
I have been photographer since more than 30 years. Installed in front of numerous stages, I have taken shots of nearly everybody who is known in rock and pop business. Surrounded by huge loudspeakers, sparkling fireworks and bombastic light tempests, I have been trying to get the best despite modest light environnments. More than 300 international top stars from AC/DC to Zappa and ZZ Top have crossed my objective. I have nearly touched the Rolling Stones during their 6 tours. Since 15 years now, I have been, in parallel, fond of fine art photography.

How did you come about current nude photography?
By a hasard. A friend of mine is nude photographer, and wanted to assist to a concert in the olympic stadium in Munich in front of the stage and his art interested me. Our deal was to exchange roles. I continue to make concert shootings, but I do it less frequently now.

Music and nude shooting seem to be fairly different photographic worlds?
Definitely! In front of the stage you have to react quickly. « 1 to 3 songs only » is the motto. And you are in a  role of a passive photographer and do not have any influence on the artist, lightening, or stage mounting. The right view, the estimation of the moment, the knowledge about the particularity of the artist in order to catch ambiance and action. When I make nude shootings, most of the result is in my hands. I manage the entire photo and I am responsible for the location, the model casting, the requisite, the choice of the image, every single cleardown and the atmosphere on the set. If the model does not feel comfortable, I am finished. You see a bad mood on every photo.

Which role does the model play?
It is important to get the right model. It is an art for her. You just look nice? Many girls do!
Even showing skin is not a problem anymore today. But, from my point of view, a good model has to offer more: she has to have a diversified facial and body language, needs to be adventurous, resilient and reliable. And, not being just a classic blond, since nude shooting is a personal and sensitive affair. If I have to mug a vacuum or an ashtray for hours, it cannot be a megashot!

Describe your photo style, what makes a good shot for you?
It depends on the observer, if my photos are good. An image should convey an atmosphere, leave space for fantasy and get the best out of the model. The photo should also create an erotic prickling. However, this should always be on a high level and never be tacky. Everybody has a sunny and a shady side. This needs to be carved out.

You have done shootings since 25 years end you have faced many women in front of your camera. What makes a perfect shooting to you?
Perfect does not exist to me. I always find something after a shooting, that I could have done better. It is important to me that photographer and model do the best for the triple A shot, and that they are interested in finding the best photographic result and not just earning  bucks. The difference is visible. The mood must be in line between both, model and photographer. The shot has to elicit a silent « Wow ! » to the photographer, the model and the observer.

Do you observe a tendancy after 15 years of nude photography?
15 years ago, you caused a small scandal in the surroundings or in the press, when a girl appeared nude. And Playboy paid a honorable fee, an appropriate smart money for the social outcry. Today nudity is not something particular anymore. The omnipresence online of nudity and all these girls posting selfies on the net and call them models are commun. Furthermore, images are more and more visually tuned.

What means « by visually tuned »?
Every image is a small fraud to the observer. It starts in the darkroom. Nobody will see it on the photo: no model stands and bends like that in everyday life, the photographer contorts his body for daring shots in order to create a super pic.
Furtheron, there are dare girls who are originally nature. A model without any implants, piercings, tatoos, artificial nails, teeth, cilias, extensions, and perhaps some hair in the crotch, are rare like a needle in the rick. If she has still some charisma, feminity, maturity and race…..These girls may immediately contact me under info@tom-rider.com.

Studio, locally or both?
Never in studios! I always try to find an exceptional location for my model, which is beyond an ordinary place. Every woman is flattered to be photographed in a castle and not on a junkyard. An fantastic girl asks, in my view , for a thrilling ambiance: in a gallery, museum or a gastronomic restaurant, always with a breeze of luxury.

Do you consider yourself as an amateur or a professional?
I was working for a newspaper as an editor and photographer some years ago and concentrated fairly early on concert and fine art photography. In the end, I am more or less an autodidact. I think that, the word art comes from ‘savoir faire’ and not from learning. My standard is professional and a shooting should produce pics that could also be published in a Penthouse magazine or a calendar. But in the end, I earn my bucks somewhere else.

Your most imporant photographic event ?
To do the shooting of the well known Liqui-Moly-calendar during the soccer worldcup in South Africa. Twelve models, 14 hours a day during 10 days. Public viewings outside ? It did not matter to me. The only important thing was the constant shooting firework. I consider it of one of my most important photographic highlight. And the numerous Penthouse interventions last year.

What is the most important source for the inspiration of your work?
« He will do everything for a good shot », is saying my wife.
At least, I travel 400 km for three good Bob Dylan photos, do shootings in the night in a world cultural heritage or 50 meters underground during freezing temperatures. Behind a camera I become an animal and can hardly be stopped. If I have a fantastic model in front of the camera, I will switch off completely and will always have new ideas.

Nikon or Canon?
Once Nikon, always Nikon. Resistant and reliable. Analog or, in the meantime, digital with D1, D2, D4….

What would you recommend to future photographers?
I have passed several hundreds of shootings, a super shooting with a firstclass model, who enthuses me is rare. There are only few models, with whom I have worked for several times. It is exceptional when I ask a model to attend to a set twice or three times. Unfortunately, I only can recommend unconditionally a dozen of girls. And personally I would hardly flash on any girl. I am an eye-minded person, however, appearance is not critical to me.

What do you think about our new magazine?
It is a great platform, that sets apart. It is a pity, not to get a printed form.

The people who are now inspired, what do you recommend to them?
Have a look on my webside www.Tom.Rider.com. Just put in Modellenland as credit and you may snuffle for free