Rick Wenner has had quite the busy summer— from working with his repeat editorial clients Hamptons Magazine and Observer, to an exclusive project with PhaseOne, he’s always on his game.
He recently shot Lee Stimmel, the Director of Original Content at SONY and creator of the Mike Tyson Mysteries cartoon series for Adult Swim, at his amazing home out in East Hampton for Hamptons Magazine. The two of them spent the hot summer day together shooting multiple set ups over Montauk Beer, as they both share a fondness for their Watermelon Session Ale. Working without an assistant, it allowed him to connect better with Lee, as he finds with almost all the subjects he works alone with. The subjects see how hard he’s working and hustling to make them look that much better in the photograph.
He usually works alone on personal projects or smaller sets like the one with Lee Stimmel, but on a recent shoot with the Observer where he photographed actor Brian Cox, he had an assistant by his side. With the Carnegie Club in Manhattan as his backdrop, Rick photographed Brian Cox just before his press junket started for the film Churchill, where he plays the famed Winston Churchill. Rick prefers to shoot in wide, interesting spaces that he can drop his subjects into, but it doesn’t always work in a press junket environment like they were in, so it forced him to look for smaller scenes. There were many assets in this room at the Carnegie Club, though, and Rick used them to his advantage. Posing him on a nice dark brown leather couch besides a bookshelf covered in old books, Rick had his assistant step outside the window next to this scene to pop a 5 foot Octabank to resemble and replicate the natural light that would come in on a bright sunny day. There was also an old wooden staircase which he photographed Brian in and Observer ran the shots. He only had 45 minutes to shoot the actor, but he came away with some amazing imagery, like this one shot in Rick’s close up portrait style, which he tries to take of all his subjects if time permits.
This same sort of style Rick brought to one of his most recent works called The Race of Gentlemen, shot for PhaseOne to showcase the incredible power of their new black and white Digital Back XF IQ3 100MP Achromatic Camera System. “With the only 101-megapixel digital back dedicated to black and white photography” and two zoom lenses in tow, he headed down to Wildwood, New Jersey to shoot the event, which is by the same name as the series, The Race of Gentlemen. In his feature on PhaseOne’s site, Rick describes the event as “an annual drag racing event with pre-war era hot rods and motorcycles. [Where] everyone is dressed in 1950’s and earlier period style to reflect the overall feel of the event.” Capturing the event in action, as well as the vehicles and their builders, racers and fans walking around, Rick’s series transports us back in time. A behind the scenes video was created alongside his shooting to promote this new digital back for PhaseOne:
Rick spent two days down in New Jersey shooting the event, with one assistant and a camera operator. It must have been quite the thrill, considering the camera he was working with was the only one in the country, and he his shooting environment was on a beach in 90 degree weather. He had an incredible time watching the 1930’s and older hot rods drag race down the beach, and the people in the pits working on their cars were even more enjoyable to be around. When he wasn’t photographing these people out on the beach with their cars, he retreated back to his close up portrait style, placing these time-travel seeming characters in front of a high key white background, his assistant holding a small diffuser overhead. The results are nothing short of spectacular: