Ravelin Peers Into The Brilliant Colors California Chiaroscuro Of Todd Weaver’s Photography

The multifaceted photographer works with everyone from Awaveawake to Veuve Clicquot to Amy Schumer.

Todd Weaver’s photography tells a story through its subject matter, extremes of color, and play with shade and Chiaroscuro. He hits all the touchstones of the discipline, everything from portraiture, commercial work, editorial work, and his own personal explorations, which are my personal favorites. While Weaver uses a digital camera for his commercial work to a very expert effect, for his more personal work he shoots on film and looking at these images it’s clear he takes full advantage of the medium. Take for example his “night time” photos: he uses double exposure, impressionist fields of rain refracted color, focus both crisp and blurred to recreate the vibrant feeling of being young and alive in Los Angeles. L.A. itself is one of the major through lines in Weaver’s work. He’s lived there for over two decades, but remains dedicated to exploring the totality of the state both as a photographer, a curious Californian, and — notably — as a surfer. Check out his “water” series for the full surfing effect, and for the full story check out our interview below.

Todd Weaver
Maximilla behind mosquito net by Todd Weaver

Am I right that you’re based out of L.A.? Is that where you’re originally from? Is there a California tint to your aesthetic?
Yes, I live in LA. Have been for 23 years now. I adore this city and the life I live here. My girlfriend Maximilla Lukacs and I live in Echo Park, which is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. We live in a Victorian built in 1895. For LA, that’s ancient.
And yes, there is very much a California tint to my aesthetic. It’s unavoidable because most of my photographs were taken in and of California. I think it’s the most incredible place in the world. I’m obsessed. I love exploring its beaches, mountains, and desert. Maximilla and I take trips up the coast several times a year. Some of our favorite places are Big Sur, Sequoia, Sonoma and Mendocino counties. I will try my hardest to explore the entire state before I die but I don’t know if one lifetime is long enough. It’s such a rich place! Yes, I’m in love.
I’m originally from Kansas City. Born and raised there with the exception of a glorious two years living in Colorado.

You do commercial work, personal work, portraiture, as well as other types of photography. Do you find yourself wearing different hats when you’re making different types of images, or is it all part of a whole?
I think the biggest difference in my approach is probably from a technical standpoint. Aesthetically I try to stay consistent but I think it’s always going to be a little different for jobs because I shoot most of them digitally. Most of my personal work is shot on film. There was a time when I got my first digital camera that I stopped shooting film and went wild with the ability of shooting almost without an end but I grew tired of shooting so many pictures!! I have to experience some life without a camera attached to my eye. I like the limitations of film, having a limited amount to shoot with 36 exposures per roll of film. I’m a lot more selective with what I photograph. Limitations feed creativity.

Jenner Canoes
Jessica Tonder at Pfeiffe Beach

“I’m a lot more selective with what I photograph. Limitations feed creativity”

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