I have been excited about meeting Sarah and Chris, aka photographic duo We Are The Rhoads, for months. They signed with East Photographic in Europe recently and I immediately emailed Roger who runs East’s London office practically begging for a portfolio session. I finally got to meet them last week when the lovely LA based married couple, awarded New York magazine’s 8 fashion photographers to watch 2015, flew into London on route to Paris to shoot a fashion story for Rollacoaster Magazine.
Having met at college when they were 18 years old they have been pretty inseparable ever since. Chris was working as a bass player and Sarah as a journalist but both of them shared a love of stories and taking photos, quickly realising that image making was the creative space they wanted to be in. They started collaborating organically on various projects and discovered they could spend tons of time working on projects together without murdering each other.
Shooting for clients like Kinfolk, The Rolling Stones, Levis, Converse, Gap, Bose and Universal Records we talked about how two people shooting the same subject at the same time works on a practical level. Depending on the project they will usually use the same cameras, each with different lenses and focal lengths. Looking through their portfolio it seems they must have an unspoken language of knowing which one of them is having a natural connection with the model. They clearly run with that, the other shooting around the subjects.
They say in a lot of ways they have grown up together, travelling, bouncing ideas and thoughts off each other, while taking in the world together. As a result of this they have developed a very natural, organic photographic style over the last 8 years that feels as authentic and honest as they are. Looking at their work it is hard to imagine there is one person in the room with a camera, let alone two of them. They let people relax and create environments that do not feel contrived, a fairly unique experience with two photographers in the room. They also appear as comfortable shooting black and white as they do colour, with both film and digital interspered throughout their book with ease.
There seems to be no ego between them either, being incredibly diplomatic about which images are ultimately used in the final edit. There are no arguments about the perfect image, the shots chosen are simply the ones that are best for the brief. And now that I have met them I reckon they enjoy the process of debating which image works best and do so in a fairly chilled out way.
We managed to fit in a few conversations during our session together from their experiences being self taught photographers, the things images say that words cannot, sharing and putting information back out into the world , learning to slow things down, the power of social media, living in California, chasing dreams, 4am call times, things getting lost in translation, unusual client demands, stylish street casting, cycling in Amsterdam, creating comedy sketches and alternative careers as dog groomers, not that they need to give up their day job any time soon.
They left me with a lovely book of personal work that has made me very happy and promises to meet up in LA when I am next there. They have no idea how much I am taking them up on that offer. Amsterdam is the next stop for these guys on their tour of Europe. The lucky Dutch.