Q&A: KEITH MULLIGAN/RIDE BMX

Ride BMX just dropped their 2009 Photo Issue, which has a colorful photo of Rich Hirsch on the cover.

If the cover caught your eye, but you didn’t know why, than you are in luck. I hit up Keith Mulligan with a few questions to find out exactly what is going on with the cover.

Click below to check that out.


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How did you guys decide on the image for the new photo issue, and who shot it?
We looked at and mocked up a number of different photos for the cover. The Rich Hirsch photo worked for a few reasons; it goes with the main road trip article in the issue—which is always a good thing, but seeing as this is the Photo Issue it fit well because it’s a hand-colored black and white image—something creative and different. People might not realize that at first glance. Overall, we went more towards the art and soul side of things than crazy action. I shot the photo while on Subrosa’s Colombia road trip.

Tell us what’s going on with the photo, and how it was done?
I wanted to do something different for the Subrosa Colombia article. I decided before the trip that I was going to shoot the entire thing with black and white film and hand-color the prints. One of Subrosa’s main image elements is the use of black and white. Colombia—and South America in general—is a very colorful place. I thought to do the article’s images black and white with added color would lend itself well to the two. Kinda raw, but with a lot of life. The process is pretty simple and fun to do: Shoot black and white film, have prints made, and color. I used Derwent Studio pencils.

Was it time consuming? I see there are more photos like it inside the mag.
I colored all of the action photos and team portraits. On average, it took around six hours to do each photo. Some a little longer, some less. I wanted them to look as realistic as possible, so while on the trip I took digi snapshots of every scene to work off of and so I could match the colors. A sharp point was crucial for the coloring, hot tea and lots of sugar helped, too. I lost some feeling in my fingers and hand for a few weeks from the coloring, haha. I didn’t expect that.

It must be difficult to settle on a cover for a photo issue, did it come out as you envisioned it?
Yeah, it’s always difficult—especially if nothing is shot specifically for the cover concept-wise. Besides the photo, I also did the Ride BMX logo and the word “color” on the cover with colored pencils. I think some of the colors are a little off on the cover, but close to what I was going for. There are some colors that are definitely off in the article—yellows turned green, which bums me out, but it happens. Overall, I like this cover; it’s clean and soulful. It was definitely fun to work on and put together.

Thanks! Anything you would like to add?
Have fun and be creative. Digital photography and Photoshop are great, but old mediums and techniques are still cool, too.

4 responses to “Q&A: KEITH MULLIGAN/RIDE BMX”

  1. Andrew says:

    The final line says it best!

  2. Kyle says:

    That is super awesome. I’ll have to pick this issue up today.

  3. mark maligmat says:

    The cover photo was a good choice! When i saw the photo, my thoughts were “ride anywhere.” Thanks Kieth.

  4. Vernita says:

    Traders do pay direct and oblique costs.