Q: Rinzi, please tell us a little about you.
Firstly, thanks for having me on Street Photography London. My name is Rinzi Ruiz and I am a photographer from Glendale, California near downtown LA. My previous profession was in graphic design but then I became interested in and very passionate about photography about 7 years ago. I found street photography while I was researching and it really appealed to me. It combined two things I like to do, explore and take pictures. I learned a lot through street photography and through the community I have been blessed to have met awesome people and visited amazing places. I’ve been working as a freelance photographer for the last few years and I am having a lot of fun.
Q: Is it all black and white street photography? Do you shoot colour sometimes?
I do typically process my photos in black and white but when it makes sense to I do process some photos in colour. So if you’re scrolling through my Flickr stream you’ll see splashes of colour here and there.
Q: What does black and white help you achieve that colour cannot?
I think at times black and white can help remove distractions that colour can present. It can evoke a mood or an emotion that maybe colour can’t for a specific subject. As far as presentation, some level of consistency can be achieved if the entire set of photos were in black and white as opposed to the variety of ways colour can be processed.
Q: There are many lists out there of top street photographers, top influential photographers, etc... What do you think these lists achieve? Can they have a positive influence, maybe help people discover the work of someone they didn't know?
Sure, it’s helped me discover other people’s work that I like so that’s definitely one way it is a positive. Photographers gain a new audience and a lot of good things can come out of that. Someone can see a photographer’s work for the first time and become inspired to experiment with different styles and venture into different genres of photography.
Q: Why do you shoot street photography in particular? Why is is dear to your heart?
It’s something I really enjoy doing. I originally took up photography to do something creative again, to help me to relax from the stress of work and to get myself outside more often. Street allowed me to do that and learn so much in the process. My whole life changed after I started street photography. This is why I still go out and shoot and why it’s dear to my heart.
Q: Is there a question you often get asked in interviews which you'd rather not be asked? What's the worst question I could ask you? (if I haven't already!). Personally I hate being asked who influences me for example.
There really hasn’t been a question that I thought was that bad that I wouldn’t like it. I can’t say what interests others so I just answer the questions I get as honestly as I can. Yeah, the who influences me question does come up often and often becomes a role call list of names but I figure if the person reading my answer is the first time this person is getting to know me then it might be helpful to them.
Q: Is there any other genre of photography for you outside street photography? What else are you into?
I tried a lot of different genres when I started learning photography but the ones I do now as freelancer varies from portraiture, weddings and events to landscape, urban landscape and documentary photography. I do enjoy the ones that involve taking pictures of people more but really I just love taking pictures so as long as that’s happening, I’m good.
Q: Do you travel a lot with a purpose to shoot? How important is it to not always shoot the same place?
I suppose so. These days if I’m going somewhere it’s probably to take pictures for work and or leisure. I would say it depends on what you’re trying to do. I’ve been going to downtown LA pretty consistently over the last 6 or so years so over time I’ve learned a lot and observed it in different levels throughout my growth as a photographer. I think once you sort of know a place your photos get better. Traveling is awesome. It’s a feast for the eyes and the soul. I love to explore and travel and I’m happy that some of the work I do does involve being in new or familiar places.
Q: How do you market your work? Is social media big for you, any other avenues?
Marketing isn’t necessarily my expertise so a lot of how I do it is through social media. Only a few people would know of my work if it wasn’t for social media and the people out there who were kind enough to feature my work on their blog or website, interested enough to interview me and liked a photo of mine enough to reblog or retweet my post. Word of mouth and referrals have also been very helpful.
Q: Finally, what would be the best single piece of advice you'd give a budding street photographer?
The best piece of advice I could give is to go out and practice. Shoot as often as you can so that you can experience what most street photographers go through when they were just starting out. Go out and conquer your fears, get creative, meet interesting people and get some good photographs along the way.
Thank you very much for taking part Rinzi, great work and we wish you a good continuation!
All photos in this interview © Rinzi Ruiz