Ricardo Simal – Photographing an idyllic state of being

A moment of time captured in a permanent state. Intimate portrayals of fresh-faced youths. Flecks of haziness. A perfect balance of slightly saturated tones is met with vibrancy. Images of nostalgia.

Ricardo Simal is a Cape Town based photographer who refined his craft by studying at the Ruth Prowse School of Art. Moving to London he assisted highly regarded photographers such as David Sims, Patrick Demarchelier and Mert & Marcus working on titles that include ID, Dazed and Confused, W Magazine, Vogue and Tank Magazine.

Ricardo’s portrayal of his models translates as near documentary fiction and his viewer experiences a sense that he knows these people intimately. Looking through his body of work is like looking at the documentation and dissection of youth and youth culture with a raw unbevelled edge.

Engaging with any one of the images crafted with his lens is to become mesmerised and to experience a sense that you yourself know these models. The feeling can be described as looking at portraits of friends from a previous lifetime. His images ooze with emotion even in his editorial stylings.

Analysing the expanse of his work, it is clear that Ricardo is a classically trained photographer abiding by principles such as the rule of thirds. This choice in itself renders his depictions as natural due to his models appearing within a focus area that is preferred by the human eye. Another technique that he employs is the elimination of distracting objects adding to the captivating quality of his work. Images that appear near shadow-less results in an uplifting mood.

The aesthetic of his practice can be summarized as raw, honest, sensual and intuitive. Since his return to Cape Town Ricardo has built up an impressive client list consisting of Hugo Boss Eyewear, Woolworths, Esquire, Meso and Russh to list just a few.

In short, Ricardo’s work can be seen as an idealism. Photographing young beauties within light tonal values and the rules outlined in various photographic principles makes his aesthetic become pronounced. The world he creates is real and unreal simultaneously. The rawness he photographs with adds to the element of a sort of documentary that his work visually displays.

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