5 Questions for Ralph Nardell

Today’s installment of the new 5 questions series, takes us to West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA, where we meet Ralph Nardell (also known as nardell in the Flickrverse).

If you’re not familiar with his work, here’s what the Flickrverse has to say:

“I always enjoy my visits to Ralph’s photostream. His creativity and his ability to find beauty everywhere are really impressive! Fantastic colours, great composition, interesting objects, perfect captions and titles – this is what comes to my mind when I think of his photos. […]” Agnieszka

“I’ve been following Ralph’s photostream far before I registered on Flickr. Everything’s just so beautiful and delicate through his eyes. He’s not only an artist who makes great photos but also a guy with a great heart and sweet personality.”*Kit*

“Nardell? Well ya see, he’s a really kind soul. And ya see that in his photos. Then it seeps into you, and then well that just adds to the joys of finding this guy and his art!! Its like finding an interior glow that trickles about the place warming things up!!"aoifejohanna


1. Ralph, we know it’s a tough question, but if you had to pick just one camera to shoot with from now until the end of time, what would that be?


the butterfly  writing on the walls  

I honestly haven’t had much experience with a wide range of cameras. I’ve owned 1 film SLR, a Nikon N60, and 2 DSLRs – a Nikon D70s and now my current love, the Nikon D700. I also have a Holga which I love to experiment with, an old Pentax, and last but definitely not least, my iPhone (addicted to camera apps). If I had to pick one though, I’d go with my Nikon D700 coupled with a 50mm f1.4 lens. While I do enjoy the unpredictability of the Holga and that unmistakable look of film, the D700 feels completely at home in my hands and its low light capability has widened my choice of subjects over the last year. Of course, if I’m around until the end of time I may change my mind before it’s all over.


2. Another (possibly) tough question… Tell us your favourite photos on Flickr, and why you like them. First, a favourite from your photostream?

The context: I took this in London while traveling with one of my closest friends (and fellow photographer), Jami. We were waiting to cross the street just outside of Victoria Station when this crowded bus passed in front of us, and the man isolated by that light caught my eye. I consider it a favorite because, for me at least, it captures a very ordinary moment but also conveys a sense that there is something a bit more poignant happening as well. And that’s one of the things I love about photography the most – it lets us reach into the constant passing of time, grab a fraction of a second and say “Wait, notice this…” It gives us the chance to hold a moment that is at once visually interesting (the nice light and deep shadow, the red, the isolated man on a crowded bus) and also a reminder that stories are unfolding all around us constantly. If the word “moment” happens to be painted on the side of the bus above your subject, well that helps too. :)


And from another Flickr member?


Selecting one photo from the flickrverse is pretty much an impossible task, so I choose this photo (which I love) as a way of saying “Go check out her entire stream.” I find Janine‘s work incredibly evocative and have been following her work for a little while now. She uses multiple exposures, pinhole cameras, expired film and a mix of classic techniques to create haunting and beautiful images. Her photos make me stay with them awhile, and they always get me thinking about the nature of time, and its passing.


3. What’s one tip that you would share with someone who’s just picking up a camera?

It’s important to believe in the uniqueness and value of your own experience. When you’re just starting out, it’s easy to edit yourself a little too much, to think “Well, why should I bother taking this shot? I’m sure it’s been done before….” Well, it has all been done before, but it hasn’t been done by you. Take your camera (any camera, no matter the quality) with you everywhere and just get in the habit of paying attention and noticing what you’re drawn to. I’ve learned a lot about myself through photography, and in many ways the photos I take help me understand what I’m thinking or feeling at a given time. To me, photography can be as much about listening as seeing, about emotion as much as light and form. Be open to what you find, and know it’s worth recording and thinking about. (I’m not sure if that was one tip or eight, but there you have it. :)


4. Which Flickr member should we ask the 5 questions of next?


Razorbern. I don’t know Bernie personally or outside of our interaction on flickr, but wow – I think he has an incredible gift for capturing moments that are unique, poignant, beautiful, telling, funny, and sometimes all of the above (not to mention his phenomenal architectural photos, travel photos, etc). He has an intelligent, gentle, cinematic eye and every time I visit his photostream I find myself inspired. I also usually find myself saying something really intelligent to the screen like “Wow. Seriously? You’re kidding me.” He is a wildly talented storyteller, and I admire that in a photographer.


5. Chrystine would like to ask you, “What type of images stirs you the most? And can you recall a special moment when you felt like you had to run to get your camera to capture something?” Please answer this question and also let me know which question about their photography did you always want to ask Razorbern?

Before I answer that question, I’d like to thank Chrystine for nominating me for this 5 Questions project. She is an incredibly talented photographer, but more importantly a kind, sincere, and wonderful person too. Thank you again, C.

Let’s see, what type of images stir me the most? I am drawn to photos that express or evoke emotion, whether within the frame of the photo itself or between the photo and the viewer (or both, of course). I like photos that make you feel or understand something. And I don’t mean it has to be something grand, like a huge event or moment of enlightenment, in fact it’s often the opposite. I am usually taken with photos that elevate seemingly ordinary moments and remind me to pay attention. Also, trees. I love shooting trees and have been fascinated with them since I was a kid.

And a time when I had to run and get my camera to capture something? Hmmm. Well, speaking of trees… A few weeks ago we had one of those strange in-between-seasons days when it was kind of warm, but there was also a lot of snow on the ground. I was at work, looked out the window and saw the fog rolling in and all I could think about was “fog, snow, trees. fog, snow, trees”. Ha. Thank goodness I have patient friends at work because they listened to me discuss it all morning. Finally, lunchtime came and I grabbed my camera and drove to the nearest park to shoot some fog, snow, trees. :)

A question for Bernie: As I mentioned above, I love the cinematic quality of your images, especially your street shots. What would you say influences your eye for such photos (movies, books, music, photographers, etc)? I know such scenes are unplanned and happen in a moment (which is what makes them so great to catch), but can you think of a moment you saw something unfolding where you thought “Oh this is going to be good…”

Kay: Ralph, thank you very much. We’ll return with our interview of Razorbern soon.

Photos from nardell, this fleeting life, and Razorbern.

Previously, 5 Questions for leslie*thomson, soup & sunday.

Posted By
Kay Kremerskothen

Kay is a Community Manager for Flickr and passionate about extraordinary photography. As an editor on Flickr Blog he loves to showcase the beauty and diversity of Flickr in his posts. When he's not blogging or making Flickr more awesome (in front of and behind the scenes), you can find him taking pictures with his beloved Nikon and iPhone, listening to Hans Zimmer's music or playing board games. | On Flickr you can find him at https://flic.kr/quicksilver