Picture perfect photography by Liam Ricketts Clean cut photographer Liam Ricketts shoots grime’s finest as well as musicians for record label Numbers and MTV.
Text: Meg Sharp
Liam’s photography is stunning. Super sharp and smooth, with a beautiful depth of field capturing the faces of London’s biggest underground producers and rappers. He gathered interest by shooting his own personal project and sending it out; now he’s shooting videos for Wretch32 and Maverick Sabre. Liam’s a true testament to those who work hard and play hard, and do it well.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in High Wycombe, which was cool, school was a right old laugh. I’m currently living in London which is sweet, nice to be in the thick of it, surrounded by lots of inspiration.
Where did you study?
I did a degree at the Arts University College at Bournemouth, which was mediocre. More just concentrating on my own work, being told what’s “right” and “wrong” I found tedious, and just wanted to find myself.
I was given a Konica point and shoot when I was a wee nipper and just kept at it, carving my way and making pictures. I would say University aided the process, but I learnt more doing my own work and taking on commissions. You don’t necessarily need a degree to do what you want, you just have to go out there and work your socks off! I strongly believe in luck too. This plays an important part in well…life really.
Music portraits are the commissions that came my way (off the back of my personal project Grime to Five) it’s the music journalists that I work with too. There’s no real concentration on musicians, I just like photographing people, getting a glimpse into their world, and leaving with (hopefully) something I can keep and look back on in my archive. I would say in the future there will be more varied subjects in the portraits, but right now photographing musicians is sweet, when I’m after a change of scenery ill jump ship.
Could you tell us about your “Grime to Five” project?
I wanted to show what the grime scene looks like from my perspective. Grime is nearly 12 years old now, and I wanted to show who was a part of it at this current moment in time. I Made a few contacts and the word spread, it’s more of an organic approach, I have a hit list of people to photograph, but right now I’m taking a break from it, got a little bit hectic towards the end of the summer, Crack houses, car crashes, etc. kept me on my toes though.
I think people perceive “Grime MC’s” as bad people, and I set out really to meet current MC’s and photograph them, as a record in history. I still speak to the guys now, they just need a small break and anything can happen. Look at Wretch 32 and Tinie Tempah , they used to be badboy Grime MC’s but now have number ones left, right and center. Just got to give them a chance really. It also showed me how much time and effort goes into making music, and that is something I have appreciated a lot from the project.
How did you get involved with Numbers?
Through Grime to Five, I approached them; they were looking for someone to shoot Mosca. They loved the Grime work, and that was it really! Wicked bunch of lads to work for, they’re doing really well, and shooting Mosca’s Done me wrong E.P was brilliant fun. Look out for their releases this year.
Film, digital, camera of choice?
I use a Canon that does the job, nice to do video, just getting round that, have a few videos coming out soon with Wretch and Maverick Sabre, but its early doors, couple of months and T-Bone productions will be launching, a collective of photographers and cinematographers, headed by Travis “Jah Bless” Watson.
I also like using my point and shoot 35mm, most shoots have to be quick, painless and with no time to set up lights. Film’s got a few years left, depends on budgets really.
The fun never stops! I’ve got some shoots at the end of this month, and some big plans in the next few months with some huge artists. A new personal project soon, which should be great to get started on. Also started collaboration with a Graphic designer, which is in the preliminary stages. Never a dull moment right now! haha.
Who would you love to photograph?
Rod Stewart would be killer, someone make that happen please before he kicks the bucket. Pharrell Williams as well, the video for Frontin’ was spectacular
And what music are you loving right now?
Anything coming out of the Boiler Room, Young Turks, or Young Jeezy. They inspire my photography and all that jazz.