Necessities: Rashaun Richardson
We link up with fashion photographer and DJ, Rashaun Richardson in Los Angeles to see what his necessities are.
Interview: Zayyar Win Thein
Photos: Bryan Fernandez
Our Necessities series is for creatives and individuals to share what they carry everyday and why. Think you might be a good fit? E-mail us.
Zayyar: Hey Rashaun, lets give our audience a little intro your life. What do you do and where are you based?
Rashaun: I am a fashion photographer and DJ, currently based in Los Angeles. I was born in San Diego and spent most of my childhood in Orange County. I attended the University of California, Riverside to study cinematography, and spent my elective units learning analog photography. I have also grown to love vintage clothing and am currently building my collection.
Zayyar: What made you gravitate towards vintage rathan than, let’s say, high fashion?
Rashaun: I have gone through my fair share of expensive brand items such as Saint Laurent, Raf Simons and Margiela. I found it to be a very expensive habit and not as fulfilling as I would have hoped. While researching what inspired my favorite designer pieces, I had an epiphany – why not buy the original reference pieces?
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So far, I feel that vintage is a more unique, environmentally friendly alternative to a wasteful clothing industry. Recently, I have been obsessed with military garments because of their hyper-functionality and every item having a story.
Zayyar: Where do you look for inspiration for photography and who are some of your favourite photographers?
Rashaun: Throughout the day I am constantly visualising my surroundings for potential photographs and projects. I think it is important to be situationally aware, especially if you are a street photographer. I also curate a mood board on instagram if anything catches my eye. In terms of my favourite photographers, John Divola and Glen Luchford are definitely up there.
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Zayyar: I know you recently came back from New York. What are some of the contrasts you found with Los Angeles from a creative standpoint?
Rashaun: New York is definitely the place to power network and really nurture your hustler’s mentality - you have to know what you want and work hard for it. I find Los Angeles to be more temperate and less chaotic, but just as difficult to find your place creatively. New York felt very diverse in terms of personal style. With harsh weather conditions, it was cool to see how people balanced fashion and functionality.
Zayyar: It's cool to see you working with upcoming fashion creatives, like Garrett Wilson and Jakob Hetzer. How did you network these connections?
Rashaun: It was all very organic, through friends of friends. Garrett and I have a mutual respect for each other’s creative process and ethos, and soon became very close. Through Garrett I met Jakob Hetzer, who is equally as creative and self-motivated.
Zayyar: What do you look for when working with these designers? I assume that they’re still starting out and finding their image - how does that interplay into figuring out imagery, references and building concepts with them?
Rashaun: The brand has to be rooted in something real. Not somebody that follows trends, but finds their own path. I believe the people I work with have a firm grasp on what they envision their brand to be, and it is my job to translate that in a visual medium. It is very much a collaborative process, where we are constantly bouncing ideas off each other and eventually settling with some firm concepts.
Zayyar: I know you also DJ in LA and have a deep love of music, we need you to do us a Newspread mix! How’d you get into that and have you always been curiously creative?
Rashaun: I would love to. I have another mix coming out very soon, so look out for that.
My Dad has been a DJ since the early 90’s and exposed me to a lot of music, ranging from Jamaican dancehall to classic hip-hop. As a kid, I would loiter in his recording studio and with his turntables, captivated by the sounds coming from the spinning vinyl.
Ever since I’ve been obsessed with discovering music, and paying attention to whether people in the room would vibe with what I’m playing. After a lot of encouragement from friends, I decided to pick up my own gear and never looked back.
Zayyar: What’s a piece of advice you’d love to share with the younger readers we have?
Rashaun: Invest in doing what you love. Appreciate and understand that everyone is different.
Zayyar: So we got you to pick out five products that are things you can’t live without, could you explain what each one is, where you got them from and what they mean to you personally?
1. 1960’s Combat Boots
I wear these almost every day, and is arguably the most comfortable footwear I have. They allow me to manoeuvre terrain while photographing on location, and are very low maintenance. I found them in a vintage warehouse, where they only had one pair in one size; I suppose it was meant to be!
2. Mamiya RZ67
The camera that introduced me to medium format photography and now I’m hooked. A few years ago I sold it for a Mamiya 7ii because it was considered by many to be one of the best cameras in the world. Although it was a brilliant system, I felt some buyer’s remorse - the rangefinder system did not feel compatible with my workflow. So I bought the RZ from a Japanese eBay seller in mint condition, though it now has its fair share of battle scars. But this camera is truly my baby and I can’t imagine shooting on anything else.
3. Pelican Air 1535
I purchased this on Amazon after extensive research and has never disappointed me. Because it is 40% lighter than the polymer variant, I have travelled with this as a carry-on with no problems. I would highly recommend this to any run & gun photographer or anyone who wants no compromise when it comes to storage.
4. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x
I use these every day, whether I’m watching videos, DJ’ing or just casually listening to music. The sound quality is fantastic and comes at an affordable price. I am by no means an audiophile, but these headphones are definitely a step up from Beats and get the job done.
5. Kapital Century Denim
I have had a lot of problem when it comes to finding the perfect pair of denim. Military cargos are usually my go-to, but these are in a class of its own. It fits like a glove, and the craftsmanship that went into these is unreal. The blue, grey and yellow accents meld seamlessly into my existing wardrobe of dominant greens/browns. I wanted this pair for some time, but couldn’t afford the steep retail price. Luckily, I found someone on instagram selling for a steal, so I couldn’t hesitate.
Interview: Zayyar Win Thein
Photos: Bryan Fernandez