NAME: RICHMOND LAM
HOMETOWN: TORONTO, CANADA
HOW WE FOUND HIM: THE INTERNET
A Morrissey-loving, continent-hopping photographer, Richmond Lam captures the essence of his subjects through evocative portraiture. He keeps it clean, giving his models ample room to shine. We spotted his photos of model, DJ and writer Max Mohenu and were blown away by the black boy magic captured. Intrigued, we set about getting to know him.
10TH: Richmond, Max’s glow is upped to the 10th power under your creative eye. How did you two meet, and what inspired you to photograph him?
RL: Max and I met through a mutual friend of ours from Toronto, who insisted that I HAD to photograph him. I have always been drawn to people with strong presence and character, and when I saw Max’s photo I knew I had to make a portrait of him. My friend was right.
10TH: Tell us a bit about your journeys. Richmond, what led you to pick up the camera?
RL: Growing up shy and a bit of an outsider, I think there is this subconscious yearning to connect with others and to express myself in some ways. I was always a visual person from a young age, very aware of how people and things look. Having also moved around a bit, I think I am a rather nostalgic person, I cherish the past and the moments. At some point it just clicked that perhaps photography is the answer to how I should live my life, documenting moments.
10TH: Who and/or what are your inspirations?
RL: Style and taste. People and work that have stood the test of time, who are true originals.
10TH: In works like Rockabillies of Japan and Cuban Black Metal, you subvert stereotypical depictions of people of color by highlighting cool-as-fuck subcultures. What draws you to these untold stories?
RL: Being Asian in North American, I am well aware of stereotypes and the lack of our representation in the mainstream media. Just look at the recent Oscars: The only time they mentioned us was in some played out jokes about being accountants and with small dongs. It bothers me that there are still such limited representation of most minorities in Hollywood and entertainment. I am tired of seeing Asian brothers being portrayed the same old way, it’s hard growing up with so few role models. So I want to see for myself and to show the viewers that yes, there are some cool, crazy dudes out there in Harajuku and Havana, just like here in the West. It is not just about funny accents and cheap cigars. And I just love rock ’n’ roll, it’s a universal language.
10TH: At its core, fostering community and brotherhood is what The Tenth is all about. What does community mean to you both? What are the most important aspects of the communities that you’re in?
RL: Community is like minded people for me, who shares similar ideas, values, aesthetics and taste. Being a photographer is quite a solitary profession, so being in contact with inspiring people and work is important.
10TH: What does the rest of 2016 look like for you? Any cool projects planned?
RL: 2016 is definitely a year for growth. Even though I get this pretty much every year, I have been questioning my own work, thinking about how to evolve, how to make better pictures, to really get to the core of what I am trying to do. Trying to do more with less? Cut out the extra fat.
In April I will be opening an exhibition in collaboration with writer / artist Eve Thomas, titled Poster Boys, at this super cool art space Never Apart in Montreal, Canada. It is a portrait series that plays with gender, empathy, nostalgia and the female gaze.
10TH: Last words: What else should our readers and lovers know about you?
RL: I love Morrissey.