Trey Ratcliff is a New Zealand-based photographer that travels the globe making beautiful photographs. The Beijinger staff photographer Mitchell Masilun spoke with Ratcliff before his trip to Beijing.

Could you tell me about your background – how did you first get into photography?
I had a regular IT job doing regular IT things, and then I discovered photography. I was so happy when taking photos and being creative!

I know you have been to China before. What brings you here now, and what keeps you coming back?
I am enamored with the Chinese people and culture. Everything is like a parallel universe to me. The architecture, people, and history are all so interesting to me. I do my best to try to capture it in a unique way.

Can you identify a unifying theme or recurring style running throughout your photographs?
Yes, I like to be right in between fantasy and reality. I like the photo to be a bit timeless and a bit mysterious. If there is mystery in the photo, then people get to fill in that mystery with little bits of themselves.

What continues to inspire you?
I simply like the little jolt of positive energy I get from creating something out of nothing. I often see beautiful or interesting things as I go through the day, and if I am somehow able to capture them, I get so excited!

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only bring one camera and lens, what would you choose?
Probably my A7r and the 10-18mm lens. I have more about this camera and some sample photos here.

If you could shoot (and have a beer with) any photographer, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Barry Goldwater. That guy was a real piece of work and he loved taking photos!

What book are you currently reading and what is currently your most played album?
I am currently reading Valis by Philip K. Dick for the third time. And as far as music, I'm super into Tipper!

What photograph are you most proud of and why?
This one. I love this photo so much of Beijing. I like how it is full of life and color and technology and the living city connects the earth and sky.

You in three words.
Old-school. Gentleman. Explorer.

What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self (or young, aspiring photographers)?
You don't have to be one thing in life – you should be 100 different things and give them all a good run! Four or five of these things will randomly feel natural and comfortable to you, and those are probably the things you were meant to do with your life.  

Ratcliff will lead a photowalk this Wednesday at 6pm in 798. There will be an afterparty and prize give away of a Sony A7r digital camera to one lucky photowalker. Find out more about the event here.

Photo: Trey Ratcliff

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