An Interview With: Wez Rumens
Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Wez Rumens, and I am a first year photography student at Leeds College of Art. I shoot events and parties freelance for private functions and commercial businesses, while working hard to get my name in the creative scene of Leeds - currently working with musicians to start up a collective.
How did you get into what you do?
I have grown up around my Dad and Grandad practicing photography and I learnt a lot about the technical side of photography through them. I grew up in a rural environment - the sort of place you want to take a lot of photos of the idyllic landscapes. Although I was always inspired by this scene, I couldn’t help but feel that there was a lot more for me to experience: so now I try and get involved in anything I can and broaden my horizons.
How do you work?
My work is usually inspired by ideas personal to me, as I focus better to communicate these ideas clearly. I start with an idea or purpose and then consider the method with which my work can best be created. For commercial work, digital photography is usually employed for its fast workflow, however, more creative and artistic endeavours are just as likely to be produced on film, be it medium format or 35mm as I feel the darkroom still contains a wealth of opportunities I aim to pursue.
How would you describe your work?
I would describe my work as versatile, that is my aim at least. In an industry as competitive as this one, I don’t have any immediate plans to constrain myself and specialise in only one type of work, whether it be from an aesthetic style or specific genre.
How other people describe my work is far more valuable to me. I go through phases of being hypercritical of the work I produce and I think that stems from my purposeful lack of direction. However, insights from other people, be they positive or negative, keep me on track better than anything.
What is your background?
From a young age I have always tried to stay employed. I’ve been working in coffee shops since 14, before that I would always find a way to get odd jobs fro people. I’m not very good at sitting around for too long and I think photography ends up being a good channel for this energy.
I value hard work and putting the time in, I have been working freelance on the side in photography since I was 15 and every year I look at my previous years work and cringe at all the things I didn’t know back then - I hope this never stops, otherwise I will have become stagnant and not progressed.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from a lot of places. At the moment a lot of the inspiration comes from my view of society, of my life and of the people in it. I am interested in people, whether they be close to me or not. I find the power of photography in itself is inspiring: the fact that a camera can work as excuse to speak to anyone, work with anyone, and do anything is massive.
I have always been fairly academically unsuccessful before university. I would work hard at things that were never valued by school. I started realising that these things I was spending all my time doing to procrastinate could be shaped into a productive thing. I may not have been sitting and writing an essay on the Holy Roman Empire for history, but I was getting people to give me a shot at shooting their wedding, and these opportunities were such a jump for me that I couldn’t help but pursue them. There is something about photography that opens door you never knew existed.
What are you goals after University?
I think I would be naive to assume I know exactly what I would like to be doing after university in my second term of the first year. But I know that photography is a tool through which I can do, see and experience many things, so my goal is to continue seizing opportunities as much as possible.
Is there any specific equipment you use?
I use 7d and 700D bodys for events and parties so I don’t have to keep switching lenses, along with two speedlights, one on horseshoe and off camera and a mix of wide, standard and fixed lenes. For digital photography I always use a battery grip for the extra charge as well as the extra trigger. I use an Olympus OM-1n and Pentax K1000 for 35mm. I recently completed a photo-project on student house parties on a medium format Mamiya 7 with a Metz flash, this was my first experience with a rangefinder.
Whats the best piece of advice you could give the readers of The Pupil Sphere?
Take every opportunity you can, because 90% of the time someone will see it and will present you with another one.
All images copyright of Wez Rumens