About The Artist
Ric Steininger's passion for photography emerged at a young age. With the combination of a sense of adventure and his appreciation for light, photography appealed greatly to him. Ric was inspired to shoot the grandeur of the natural world, traveling extensively for the sole reason of capturing something unique — something “painted by Nature”. Ric worked as a freelance photographer in his home city of Canberra, Australia with great success. But Ric never forgot his first love, and not being satisfied he set off with a panoramic camera to shoot ‘art’ on this grand format. In 1991, Ric started using a 6x17cm film (2¼ x 7") panoramic camera, a simple camera with a single lens; it has no battery, and no light meter. It is far from the digital automated cameras that other photographers use today. It takes masterful technical skill to successfully operate the camera in the many and varied environments photographed.
Ric is a self-taught photographer who started with a developing vision and a small book on photographic technique. He treated his earlier expeditions like a university degree, studying the natural world in relation to capturing it on film. Ric spent five years shooting with the panoramic camera before he held his first exhibition in January 1997 at the Sheraton Mirage, Port Douglas, Australia. The exhibitions that followed were met with great success and by May 1997, Ric opened up his first gallery in Cairns, Australia.
Ric has always operated a little unconventionally, going to great lengths to capture a single frame. Ric generally sets out with a clear vision of what he is looking for. It starts with an idea, sometimes sketched on paper. Then he sets out in search of it, researching locations and potential sites. Ric can be off for weeks until he finds the perfect scene and viewpoint that would fit into the lens of his camera with drama and life. The actual shooting — the firing of the shutter — might only take a second or so, but it may have taken a week or more for all the conditions to be just right. Lighting is an unpredictable thing, and along with all the anomalies like wind, cloud and seasons, it can be difficult to get all the variables right at the one time. In addition to the creative processes on site, the journey to the site itself often requires long hikes and climbs, dangerous cliff lines, mountains, and even lava crossings. But to Ric, it's all worth it when the final shot is captured.
Ric loves natural light, and the various ways that it can play across a scene. Ric never uses color filters — ever — but chooses to work with what is presented to him; he is a purist in terms of the use of natural light. To him photography is somewhat like sailing; Ric loves being out in the elements, with the wind in his face and set on a specific direction and purpose. He enjoys the challenge of navigating through and working with the conditions. Sometimes a stormy night clears; the morning brings a calm and brilliant light sets the scene aglow. All of the elements have come together and the shutter is fired.
This collection is being released as Ric celebrates the opening of the newest Ric Steininger Galleries in Lahaina, Hawaii and Las Vegas.
”I take great delight in that my work gives me an excuse to get out and explore some of the most beautiful and dramatic places in the world. I love the challenge of dealing with all the natural elements and the chance moments that arise that allow me to capture what nature has presented. What is truly rewarding to me is not only discovering the scene in the first place; it's being there to capture it when it all happens.
I felt earlier on with my work that I should study traditional arts, to learn to paint. In reality it is really difficult to find scenes and photograph them with the drama and the lighting that I envision. This is the one thing with my work — it demands that I be there, the location has to exist; the conditions, the lighting, the mood, all have to be right. But to me, in the end, that is half the fun. I love this art form, this medium, the challenge of deeply involving myself with natural world and capturing it on film. That chance moment of drama, life and inspiration. My work starts in my mind as an idea, and then I have to search for it and discover it, experience it and be a part of it.”