Ricardo Gomes on Shooting Some of Music’s Biggest Celebrities

Behind the Image is an ongoing MODELS.com series taking a more personal look at both established and emerging creative talent.

Ricardo Gomes | Image courtesy of SF Creative

Ricardo Gomes, Photographer

Based: Made in Portugal- Madeira Island
Based: New York City
Representation: SF Creative

How would you describe your work? What’s your trademark?
My work is definitely a mix of things that inspire me the most, from documentary to portrait, photography, and video. When I started exploring photography about 16 years ago, my goal was always to find upcoming talent and document their faces by spending a day together and exploring a personal side. I believe that people’s differences are always interesting. Digging into their routines can be very inspiring, so I document them. Outside of Madonna’s creative world, I am focused on directing and creative directing for different projects and brands- exchanging with creatives and working with an amazing team. I have directed music videos, a concert film that received a VMA nomination, and short fashion pieces. Moving images are definitely something that I want to keep exploring, as they are creatively endless!

How did you get into your chosen career?
I always knew what I wanted to do. Dropping out of school really helped me find my way, and leaving Portugal educated me to hustle and follow my dreams. I always felt trapped on the island and never supported outside of my family. I left Madeira Island at 17 years old to study photography. I moved to Paris and really tried to connect with different people doing different things, in music, fashion, and casting. Some really helped me and guided me through my vision. Music and musicians really inspired me to pursue photography and find my style. I don’t believe I have one, as I like to explore everything and have fun with what I do.

What other jobs have you had?
I have done many different things, from assisting in a hair salon, working in clubs, restaurants, and vintage shops, to being a buyer. I’ve always struggled with service work because it’s such a hard job. I respect so many who do it for a living, but I can say it’s really not for me.

What have you watched/heard/read lately that has inspired you?
I watched a film which I can’t really talk about as it’s still in the editing process, about the life of one of the best artists in my opinion who’s ever lived, and it was so incredible, psychedelic experience. (No drugs included) They will probably change direction in the editing process and make it a little more commercial to sell, but wow, it was incredible. It was a real music experience.

What do you love about what you do?
Being able to create, share, and meet interesting people has allowed me to work with many incredible artists, from Patti Smith to Madonna, Kim Gordon, Michele Lamy, Pete Doherty, The Stooges, members of Sex Pistols, Marianne Faithful, Honey Dijon, Megan Fox, Machine Gun Kelly, J Balvin, Paris Jackson, and many others.

What have been the biggest challenges you have faced professionally?
The biggest challenge for me is being so far from my family, even though I accepted it and adapted to that distance. I’d love to have the chance to see them more often, but getting to a small island in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is not super easy. It’s hard to make it a weekend trip from New York, and I’m constantly working, so that makes it harder. Everything else doesn’t really affect me personally. I have got so many no’s, yes, or later answers that I just go with it and work harder every time. You have to learn how to let go of a lot of things and people. Life teaches you that, for good or bad, it teaches you to become a loving, cold, or numb person.

What’s one thing outside of your work that you would like people to know about you?
I am very OCD with my things. I love to work with people who can relate to that or like to work in a similar way. I like independent artists with a vision of their own. I also love jewelry; it’s my other passion. I am currently art directing for Alex Moss in NYC; who is a great artist who makes great pieces for some of the coolest people in the business.

Selected Work

| Image courtesy of SF Creative

Playground Book Cover 2018
My first-ever book was published and launched at Bookmarc in NYC. It was a collection of photographs from the past years, trips, portraits, my relationship with musicians, and documentary work—all the things I love. It is my own playground.

Madonna Madame X | Teaser
This was my first ever directing job and my 1st VMA nomination. A very challenging film to put together; we have worked in the editing process in London and LA for almost 2 years over the pandemic. Finding footage as our show got cut when COVID happened, editing together, and telling the full story and message of a Freedom fighter like Madonna. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the award.

Yohji Yamamoto | Image courtesy of SF Creative

Yohji Yamamoto portrait, 2017
I shot a portrait for Yohji Yamamoto, which he liked so much he asked for a print that he could write my name on the back so he would remember it.

Frozen Remix Madonna ft. Fireboy DML 2022
Madonna’s music video for her Frozen remix with Fireboy DML that reached an incredible amount of views on YouTube right away.

Malmua and Madonna | Image courtesy of SF Creative

Rolling Stone November 2021 Covers
Madonna and Maluma for Rolling Stone musicians on musicians. This is following up on their collaboration, and it is the second time I have worked with Maluma.

Image courtesy of SF Creative

Pride Times Square 2021
This was a whole concept I put together along with Kendall Werts and the Standard Hotel. Coming back from the pandemic was an important moment in NYC. We took over Times Square and had 50% of the screens play on loop the video I directed. We followed up with a party that, after 10 minutes, we opened the doors, which were at full capacity, and the line outside was all the way around the block!! We played videos at the Boom Boom Room; Kaytranada and Honey Dijon played music, and Madonna performed along with Vogue dancers on top of the bar! Mel Ottenberg / Interview Magazine chatted with me about this project and supported me with a great article, followed up with Polaroids from my shoot with Madonna and the party.

Julia Fox | Image courtesy of SF Creative

Highsnobiety Fall 2022 Cover: #UNBOTHERED
This was a very last-minute shoot in NYC, but Julia Fox made it really fun and easy. She’s great at challenging different characters and going with them. We decided to create a different Julia.