Working commercially since 1984 after 5 years of newspaper photojournalism and 7 years of law practice, Rick Rappaport operates an independent studio providing photography for annual reports, advertising, corporate communications and magazines.
His distinctive style of peak action gesture has garnered numerous national and international awards including publication in Communication Arts, Graphis, and Print annuals, New York and West Coast Art Directors' competitions, as well as many juried annual report and business communication competitions. He is an outspoken advocate of producing images that make people feel something about what they're seeing.
The first thing I ask my client is what they want their audience to feel upon seeing the completed images. That information not only drives the production but also moves me from vendor to team member. The power of the team working together lifts the project out of the ordinary and good things begin to happen. Everyone picks up on this and the project changes from just another job to something special.
Here are two examples: A 15 year old girl who resided near the ocean had successfully been through a life changing ordeal with a brain tumor, and I was contracted to photograph her for a magazine. Full body shots were just not working out despite the beautiful surrounds at the coast. She was big for her age and I could easily see she was not comfortable being seen head to toe. When we talked about that directly she could see I actually cared about the way she appeared. Suggesting we concentrate on her head instead, I asked her if she'd mind laying in the wet sand as the tide changed. During the shoot I could see it would draw more attention to her head as an icon if she just closed her eyes. Both of us were soaked and full of sand but we made this image.
A teenage boy had his arm successfully reattached by my client after a farm machinery accident and I was contracted to photograph an ad and a feature essay. His story alone was almost beyond harrowing, but he had such resilience that he still dreamed about becoming a Navy pilot. I spent two days with him and his family but there was little emotion and not much access to the heartfelt matters. So my last afternoon we just mostly talked, except I asked him to bring one of his model airplanes and we'd do just one last photograph. Literally, this is the very last frame after two days.
I fell in love with photography and started out in a darkroom learning every technique and process that would fit inside my head. Soon my head was full and any more information caused something already there to disappear.
Then I learned I needed an image worth printing so I spent a lot of time figuring out what made a picture worth looking at.
Then I learned that lighting changed the way everything looked, so I spent a lot of time figuring out what kind of light the sun made at different times of day in different seasons.
Then I learned I really liked to photograph people, so I spent a lot of time photographing a lot of people to figure out what I needed to do or say so the people would do what I wanted them to do.
Then I learned that the sun wasn't always where I wanted it to be so I spent a lot of time figuring out how to make my own light anywhere anytime.
Then I learned I had a knack for anticipating peak action moments so I spent a lot of time figuring out how to produce what I saw in my mind without waiting for it to happen.
I'm still in love with photography but I spend more time with a computer than an enlarger, learning every technique and process that will fit inside my head. Now my head is getting full again and any more information might cause something already there to disappear.
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