Digital FeaturesDeconstructionChristian Rinke
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Christian Rinke


PHOTOGRAPHY Christian Rinke STYLING Ali of A Noble Savage HAIR & MAKEUP Paul Venoit @ Wilhelmine New York MODEL Roosmarijn de Kok @ Wilhelmina Models PHOTO ASSISTANT Tyler Williams  FASHION A Noble Savage vintage archive SPECIAL THANKS TO Ishmael Randall CAMERA Leica S (Typ 006) with Summarit-S 70mm f/2.5 Asph., Apo-Macro-Summarit-S 120mm f/2.5

Christian Rinke is a citizen of the world. He was born in Germany, grew up in Peru, has lived in Hamburg, Berlin, London and New York, and is about to take his baby daughter back to Peru to reconnect with nature. For ‘Deconstruction’ he teamed up with the stylist with the best vintage collection in Brooklyn, Ali of A Noble Savage, to find some beauty in a changing America.

What is this story called?
It’s called ‘Deconstruction’ and is all about the beauty of atrophy. 

What was the underlying idea behind this shoot?
A process of aging on purpose. Contrast, expressed through the juxtaposition of beauty and the breaking down of established forms. Trying to show the beauty of the run-down, looking for something romantic in the deconstruction, and maybe also looking for the positive part of something being destroyed. 

This story has a sort of run-down Americana feel to it. Is there a particular vision of America that you want to evoke here?
Yes, exactly. Well it kind of plays with the political situation. We shot this some days after the last election in the States, and the feeling in New York was terrible after Trump won; you could feel it in the air. These days felt a bit like the fall of America, like a time of self-destruction and destroying things on purpose. But also, as I mentioned before, I am looking for a positive, romantic aspect to it, which will be the part of the beauty that stays during the deconstruction process. 

Where in New York was this shot?
We shot this in the atelier of my good friend, the artist Ishmael Randall Weeks, who shares the space with the stylist Ali of A Noble Savage in Brooklyn. We shot here because its rooms are big and the building is kind of old, which fitted well with the story.

Who is your favourite New York fashion photographer?
I don’t really have one. I admire a lot of photographers but also filmmakers, designers and architects, older ones as well as contemporaries. I appreciate people being good at what they do. But if I have to choose, I guess I’ll spontaneously say… Richard Avedon.

What attracted you to New York in the first place?
I would say “diversity”. There are cities like London or Berlin where, when you jump into the subway, you might hear people speaking Russian, Spanish, French, Arabic, Swedish, but when you are in New York that happens everywhere and on a bigger scale all the time. It’s like a melting pot of stories. That is a huge inspiration for me. I’m confronted with very different things and my perception awakens more and more every time, and I get so curious and dream a lot. That’s where I get ideas from. I mean it’s not about nationalities or languages, it’s mainly about people, all different kinds and sorts of people. It inspires me. But, yeah, I’m not living in New York right now, I’m taking a break and going to Peru for a year.

Why did you choose Peru?
I just became the father of a wonderful girl. Her mom is Peruvian and we want to spend time with her in nature. So in two months we are going down to Lima to prepare. I see this as a big opportunity, as a big and amazing responsibility, and I feel like I need to break with the hustle of the world for a minute and just breathe nature, and give up some time and be truly emotionally present without all the noise of work and normal life.

What was your experience of working with the Leica S on this shoot?
The speed I can shoot with it just gives me more time to observe what is going on around me. I can focus more on the structure of the pictures. It also has this very magical texture that makes me happy. I wish I could shoot more often with it. 

What is your top tip for anyone shooting with the Leica S?
Know the camera. I like to use the manual focus, and push it to perfection with the focus button. If you work with a narrow depth of field on a lens like the Summarit-S 120mm, which makes amazing portraits, you can’t get closer to “perfect focus”.

How were you able to create those dramatic light and shadow effects?
I can’t really tell. My work is very instinctive. I guess it helped that it was a very sunny day, but also I was chasing the right spot with the right light.

You’ve spoken about “realness” before. How do you make sure your photography stays real?
I guess I just do what I feel is me. I guess this is staying real, just being yourself.