Documenting Abandonment and Loneliness – Richie Palmer – Community Feature

/ / Documenting Abandonment and Loneliness – Richie Palmer – Community Feature

Black Spell takes its inspiration from board sports culture and the arts. As part of an ongoing ‘Community Feature’ series here at, we’re going to highlight some of the other creatives we have the pleasure of working along side. This is your chance to get to know a little more about the people and processes behind the art; the riders, artists, photographers, makers, creators and collaborators.

Richard James Palmer is a British Documentary photographer based in the Gateshead, UK. He spends his time documenting the North East of England, observing abandonment, loneliness and people on the fringes of society. Richie is part of the Northern Raw Collective, a group of documentary photographers who live & shoot in the North of England.

Here’s what he had to say when we dug a little bit into his style of photography.

Richard James Palmer – Documentary Photographer

Tell us a little bit about yourself?

My name is Richie, I’m 33 and I am a photographer that specialises in documentary.

How long have you been shooting?

I have been shooting for 18 years, since I was 15 and I have basically never stopped.

From The Archives – Black Spell Team Rider ‘The Cougar’ shot by Richie Palmer

Who’s work are you influenced by?

Sian Davey, Simon Roberts and Alec Soth mainly. Instagram has a lot of amazing photographers on there such as, my lecturer Alan Thoburn (@thofolio), John Bolloten (@johnbolloten), Nick Gee (@nickg_photo_salford) and Stefan Byrom (@es.bee).

What’s your favourite thing to shoot? 

Documentary photography, I like to combine portraits, landscapes and still life to build a narrative and turn that into a book. 

What equipment do you use? 

Mamiya 7ii and Mamiya RZ67 (medium format film cameras).

The Space Witch SS Tee – Photographed by Richie Palmer

Which piece of equipment could you not live without?

That would be my Mamiya 7ii. 

What is one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?

Shooting documentary photography from the start was my calling as a photographer, I have only taken photos in this way for the last 6 years.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to get into photography?

Just do it, you have your phone or use an old film camera and just start straight away. It is very rewarding but you have to be super self motivated, because it can be lonely at times.

What’s your favourite photo you have ever taken?

Ahhh that’s a tough one, a difficult question because it changes all the time. Right now it would probably be a group of photos I took of my Grandmother. I also have self published a photo book and there’s a couple that stick out. 

“I like to combine portraits, landscapes and still life to build a narrative and turn that into a book.” – Richie Palmer
Richie Palmer – Documentary Photographer
‘Home Sweet Home’ by Richie Palmer
“A Girl Asleep On The Metro – Newcastle” – Richie Palmer
“Mannequin In A Car – Gateshead” – Richie Palmer
“A Man Sitting In The Sun – Sunderland” – Richie Palmer

Where can we see more of your photos?

My website is

I’m a part of a collective on Instagram called @nothern_raw_collective.

My Instagram is @richardjamespalmer.


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