Even though cameras had always been a part of Geoffs life it wasn’t until his late twenties that he realized that photography was a viable career. At the time he was studying design in a collage in Denver, Colorado but right after he graduated he moved to New York to take on the world as a photographer.
“Passion,” replies Geoff when asked what drives him as a photographer. “It’s hard to be creative and driven without passion for what you do. I think this translates to most creative endeavors. If I didn’t want to do this I wouldn’t be making photographs. The passion I have for photography has become my life. It’s not something I can turn off, nor would I want to. I got into this field initially because I didn’t want a nine to five. Instead I got a 24/7 career but I wouldn’t change a thing.”
What is it you’re passionate about? In other words, what is you love the most about photography?
“That’s a tough question to answer. I am equally happy to spend a day in the studio making portraits as I am to photograph a western sunset. The difference being that one is a solitary experience and the other collaborative. I think there is something special about both and feel lucky to be able to find a balance between the two. ”
Youthful Expressions caught my eye because it was something I hadn’t seen before. It reminded me a lot about Jill Greenberg but with much more humor. How did you come up with the idea?
“I was on a flight back to Denver at the time and I clearly remember the two children in the aisle across from me. They were making these exaggerated and truly silly faces, each one trying to outdo the other. It brought up memories of my own childhood and the feeling of uninhibited youthful play. It was several months later that I would draw on that experience and create Youthful Expressions.”
So how did you execute it? Working with children isn’t the most easy thing one can do…
“With the help of two great assistants who had experience working with kids and a bag of clementines to keep them happy. To be honest, it was one of those days where everything came together in the best possible way. The kids and parents were great, the Profoto Acute2R 2400 packs and Acute/D4 heads I was using were reliable and fired every time I needed them and the resulting expressions were priceless.”
One thing that becomes quite clear is that you have done some work in post to make the photos stand out. Can you tell us a little about what you have done with the images after they went into your computer?
“This is where I spent the majority of my time with this project. While the kids had really done most of the hard work I knew I could push them a little further in post. The retouching mainly consisted of me trying to remove the remains of the Clementines I had provided as a snack. Orange bits littered their faces and clothing extending the initial phase of post production into clean up mode. From there I made slight adjustments to the features, expressions and colors in the photographs as can be seen in the before and after images.”
So, is this the last we will see of Youthful Expressions or are your plans to continue and refine the project with more and more funny faces?
“Every time I think I will have time to continue the project I start working on something new. I don’t think the project is done and hope to expand the work into all ages. The series as you see it today represents an afternoon of fun in the studio and if I’m lucky there will be plenty more days like that ahead of me.”
You can fine more of Geoff Ridenour’s work at his website here.