Derek Ridgers Peer Review / by Chris Chucas

I reached out to some peers on the professional groups I am part of to get some feedback on the latest work. Here is Derek Ridgers feedback. Before that, i wanted to include a little context into Derek’s practice.

(wikipedia page below)

Derek Ridgers (born 20 October 1950), is an English photographer with a career spanning over thirty years. He is best known for his photography of music, film and club/street culture – photographing people such as James Brown, The Spice Girls, Clint Eastwood and Johnny Depp – as well as politicians (Tony Blair), gangsters (Freddie Foreman), artists (Julian Schnabel), writers (Martin Amis), fashion designers (John Galliano) and sports people (Tiger Woods).

Ridgers has also photographed British social scenes such as skinhead, fetish, club, punk and New Romantics.

Ridgers has worked for Time OutThe Sunday TelegraphNME,[1][2] The FaceLoaded,[3][4] The Independent on Sunday,[5] The GuardianThe Observer,[6] The Sunday TimesThe IndependentGQGQ StyleMelody Maker and Sounds.[7][8][9][10][11]

Below is his response, I had set up a page with a video and links to the work, i’ve posted the video below and a link to the page that I sent the link to.

Okay. I said I would look at the work and I’ve done so. Several times, over a period of the last seven days. There’s very likely an interesting story somewhere in here but you’re not telling it. The photographs themselves I find very unexciting but combined with the words - which seem somewhat arbitrary - do make for a slightly more intriguing whole. Although I would best characterise my honest reaction as mystified. I looked through your Instagram and your website too and I notice you sometimes use the same words with different photographs. That seems very curious. It’s almost as if the combinations are arbitrary (not that there’s anything wrong with that)? The photographs seem oddly underexposed too, without any proper blacks. Since one would never get to be doing a MA without knowing how to correctly expose a photograph, I assume this is intentional? In which case it just serves to increase my sense of unease. And having had some experience of shooting punk and punk bands myself (I even did a book), I really could not see any relationship with that subject here. Maybe that’s just my lack of knowledge of the current punk scene but if this is the case, the work doesn’t help me out much. Or… maybe the word ‘punk’ now means something completely different than what it once meant to the ‘70s generation? I’m somewhat confused. Of all of the photographs in Habits and Mindsets, the self portraits seem the strongest. And that seems to me to also be the case looking at your other work too. Some of the photographs on your Instagram and on your website are really rather good IMHO so I’m flummoxed as to why you’re going in the direction you are in Habits and Mindsets. Unless of course, the message is a subliminal one? If this is the case, then it’s really quite clever. But that’s more of an ‘art' type thing. And not something a photographer like myself would be qualified to comment on. Regards, Derek.