Monday, March 9, 2009

Richard Renaldi-Photographer- Fall River Boys Book Launch as part of The Current State of the ART Market Series #13

Photographer Richard Renaldi

ARTmostfierce had a chance to ask a few questions to the talented photographer Richard Renaldi whose new Fall River Boys book by Charles Lane Press and with an introduction written by Michael Cunningham is being released today March 10, 2009.

In addition Richard is part of the amazing new project sponsored by the USA Networks called the Character Project.

Ruben Natal-San Miguel- Richard...Can you tell us how the Fall River Boys series started ? Why Fall River? how long?

Richard Renaldi-I passed through Fall River ever time I drove to Cape Cod on 195. You drive over the Braga Bridge through the town and then onto New Bedford and Cape Cod. The view from the Bridge of Fall River is really impressive as it is situated along a hill that slopes down towards the Tauton River. That picturesque view combined with all the old nineteenth century brick mills that I spotted from the highway piqued my interest. Then it was just a matter of stopping there one day to make photographs. I liked what I brought back and kept going back for just about nine years.

Photo-Richard Renaldi-Craig, 2006

RNSM- How much different is this book from your previous books Figure And Ground and Western Lives ? Please explain

RR-Fall River Boys is different from my previous books in that this was a project that I conceived myself from start to finish. It feels like my complete vision realized in this book. Figure and Ground is more of a curated look at several bodies of work I had made to date. Both books were collaborations - working with editors and designers. I also think the printing in Fall River Boys is a step above. We printed at a 300 line screen with tri-tone separations from separations of scans from original 8 x10 negatives.

RNSM- Is the Fall River boys series completed with the publication of this book?

RR-Perhaps. But I reserve the right to Fall River Boys 2!

Photo-Richard Renaldi-Anthony and Wallace, 2008

RNSM- What is the main purpose of portraying these boys in such living setting?

RR-I wanted to show what it was like coming of age as a young in a American town without a lot of economic opportunity for it's inhabitants. I also was drawn to the story of the decline of American Manufacturing. Though Fall River's downturn happened some time ago I see it is a metaphor with what is happening all over the country today.

I choose to shoot this project in black & white because I wanted to highlight this connection to it's grander past in a subtle way and I thought that black and white was the appropriate feeling to that with.

RNSM- If the series began in the year 2000 till now can you tell us if such events like 9/11 , the Iraq War and the current economy downfall influenced your portrayal and the selection of boys in the series?

RR-After 9/11 there were many American flags and some "Never Forget" Graffiti that I captured in a few of my images. There is an Army recruiting Station at a strip mall in Fall River and I made some portraits there as well. Several of these young men I photographed had already been to Iraq.

Photo-Richard Renaldi-Carlos, Manuel and Eric, 2006

RNSM- Was the timing of the Fall River Boys being released as a direct reflection of our current economic times or just pure coincidence?

RR-I think that our economic situation has been a long time in the making. If you look around the Untied States there are several regions that have been depressed for a lot longer than this most recent severe recession. That said - certainly I think the work does speak to our present circumstance.

RNSM- I just saw the work of Tema Stauffer in which she went to Binghamton , NY (former IBM Town ) and photographed and created a series based of young boys running around Main street...Do you think that now most photographers are doing a lot of soul
searching and going back to neighborhoods in America and portraying what is happening with our youth now?

RR-I don't feel that I have the authority to suggest what other photographers are up to in regarding their souls. Youth as a subject has always been an engaging topic for exploration by artists.

Photo-Richard Renaldi-Crystalee, 2002

RNSM- Your work has a very Americana feel, is that the main purpose of it? if not what? Why?

RR-No. I did not set out to create a body of work about America or define what America is or means. I think American is a characteristic that one can draw from my photographs because the majority of my work has been created here and is made in the cities and towns across this fascinating country. I am interested in places that are not necessarily looked at as typically beautiful or important. I like quite places, depressed and abandoned place, both gray and colorful places - these are all part of the palette of our nation.

Photo-Richard Renaldi-Benjamin, 2006

RNSM- How do you feel as a photographer during this Economic World crisis ? Has affected your work or vision in any way? The way you see through the lenses?

RR-I did some work recently in Cairo, Illinois in December that has very much a post-apocalyptic feel. I just posted a few of them to my blog.

RNSM- Can you tell us what are you working on right now?

RR-I am working on a series of photographs called Touching Strangers where I am creating images of two or more strangers in am environmental setting and asking them to touch each other intimately as friends or family would. This work is getting a lot of great response. I am also working on a long term project on Alaska and Hawaii called 49 & 50 that I will eventually publish as a two volume set.

RNSM- Any final thoughts?

RR-Starting our own imprint Charles Lane Press has been a really exciting experience. The process of making books is fun and being so passionate about Photography Books it is extremely gratifying to be able to contribute to something I love and care about.

RNSM-Thanks Richard!


Tema Stauffer said...

Of course it was fascinating for me to see Richard's Fall River Boys series and to read his thoughts. I am a big fan of his portraits in general.

Tema Stauffer said...


Ruben: You are so damn cute with your collectors guide book.


ruben said...

Thank you Tema!
The Collectors Guide makes me Humble!