All images by Rinzi Ruiz. Used with permission.
The photography of Rinzi Ruiz has always has a very noir-esque look to it. His works over the years has been evolving quite a bit but still retains a lot of that core look to it. Rinzi attributes this to photographers like Ray K Metzker; but if you ask me it also looks a lot like the movies–and of recent he’s been using the Fujifilm X100F.
When I was first getting La Noir Image started, Rinzi was one of the first photographers to sign up to be featured. For that, I’m very thankful–especially with the high quality of his work. So now that he has been playing with the Fujifilm X100F for a while, we wanted to see what he thought and how he’s using it to create and capture the scenes that he does.
Phoblographer: I’ve been following your work for a really long time now and I’ve even featured you on La Noir Image (subscription required) when I was getting it started. Lots of your black and white photography focuses on the use of contrast and very specific lighting in just the right spots. So what’s influenced you to create images like this and how do you feel you’ve become better at it over the years? What’s specifically going through your head to create images like these?
Rinzi: Thanks again for the feature on La Noir and congrats on its success. My style of black and white photography started as part of my learning to be a better photographer and was influenced by learning how to see light better and by great photographers such as Ray K. Metzker whose work really inspired me and gave me direction. That style of photography just felt right to me so I practiced, learned my cameras, observed light and eventually figured out what worked for me.
I feel what’s changed is that I do understand the “how to” at this point in my experience so it does allow for more letting go and letting my intuition take the lead more often. I’m also a bit more specific about what I will take a picture of because I learned what I like after having taken a lot of successful photos and failed photos. A few things going on in my head haven’t changed much as far as observing the quality of light I like to work with and being compelled to take a picture upon seeing a scene come together. Much of the time now I just let my intuition guide me and try not to think so much.
Phoblographer: Lots of photographers have a tough time connecting their technical mind with their artistic one. Which way do you feel you lean and why? How do you feel that the Fujifilm X100F lets you achieve a balance if at all?
Rinzi: The technical aspect of things doesn’t come easy to me so I do have to work a little harder at learning and understanding it. I’m a creative first so I let that guide me to figure out what I need to learn technically. The X100F does provide a good balance for me because I like to keep things simple. Essentially it’s got what any camera has with respect to ISO, shutter, and aperture but with its retro style use of dials and aperture ring it produces that simplicity for me and allows me to focus on seeing and observing.
Phoblographer: Even with your color work, you seem to incorporate a lot of darks into your scenes to tell someone exactly where to look. What motivates you to capture scenes in this way? Do you feel like during the process that you yourself and very hyperfocused on parts of a scene?
Rinzi: Part of my motivation to incorporate a lot of darkness into my scenes to direct the eye to the lit areas is to create a clean composition. Without the light and the shadows the scene would likely be boring and over crowded with distractions. When I’m observing a scene I do become very hyper-focused on the lit areas to watch how people are lit up as they walk in and out of it.
Phoblographer: Tell us about some of your favorite places to shoot in LA.
Rinzi: My favorite places to shoot in LA are in downtown LA, Venice Beach, and Hollywood. As far as people traffic goes those are good spots to go and I also like those areas for some of the old school buildings that can give off that timeless look to a photograph if the right combo of light, person, and building come together.
Phoblographer: How do you think the Fujifilm X100F makes you a better creator; and what features about it do you feel are helping you evolve as an artist?
Rinzi: I think that sometimes simplicity can influence creativity. With the X100F, I can keep it fairly simple. Having only a fixed 23mm F2 lens (35mm full frame equivalent) makes me not have to think about other focal lengths and makes me work to use what I have. The lens and sensor combo is producing amazing images in JPEG and SOOC.
I’ve taken it out for some night shooting which I didn’t do very often but with the colors and image quality that the combination is producing I may have to go out at night more often. This was an evolution that I did not expect. I also haven’t experienced any issues with the AF in low light either. There is something special about this camera. It’s not only the retro look but it has soul. There is a feeling you get when you hold it in your hands that inspires you to go out and take pictures.