Paul Ripke is a German photographer whose main fields of work include advertising, sport, concert photography and photo journalism. He works for a large variety of notable customers, including companies such as Hugo Boss, IWC, Axe, DHL, Universal Pictures, Nike and Red Bull, as well as for sports clubs such as DFB and FC St. Pauli, and musicians including Die Tote Hosen, Jan Delay and Marteria.
In his personal work, he concentrates on landscape photography and travel reports. Ripke was born in 1981, the son of a general practitioner, and grew up in Heidelberg. His father, an enthusiastic hobby photographer, passed on his knowledge to Ripke during numerous father-son holidays. Following a string of initial unpaid jobs, mostly from the world of hip-hop, he got his first paid job in 2002 for hip-hop magazine, Backspin.
The year before, Ripke had already founded Ripke GmbH. Ripke, who is self-taught and hasn’t ever had classical photography training, studied Business Administration. Driven by his determination to stand on his own two feet, he founded StudioPR in Hamburg-Norderstedt and was able to earn a living from photography.
The field of sports photography constitutes a large part of Paul Ripke’s portfolio. In 2014, he accompanied the German national football team, from their training camp in South Tirol, to their victory celebrations at the World Cup final in Rio, right up to the welcome celebrations in Berlin. The resulting photos can be found in Ripke’s comprehensive photo book, ‘One Night in Rio’. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of the World Cup victory, Ripke and the German national team presented the best images from the report at four museums in four German cities.
Ripke has a similar affection for music as he does for football, particularly for hip-hop. His references include promotional and concert images for a variety of musicians, including Marteria, for whose visual representation Ripke can take responsibility; work for Die Toten Hosen, whose “Krach der Republik” tour he photographed and of which he created a photo journalistic report, and with whom he released the photo book entitled “Bitte Lächeln” at the end of 2015. Moving images in general are playing an increasingly important role in Ripke’s work, such as his shooting of Marteria’s music video for “Bengalische Tiger”. He has also made music videos for Fettes Brot, Jan Delay, Die Orsons, Prinz Pi and Sido.
Ripke is also active in the field of commercial photography and has created clips for FC St. Pauli, EA Sports, Nike, Cinestar and ARD Sportschau.
Ripke also does work for the charity organisation Viva con Agua and in 2013 he visited the construction of a well in Uganda with musicians Marteria and Maeckes. In 2014, the three of them met once again with African artists for an intercultural exchange and in support of additional water projects, such as the #WaterWater campaign in Kenya.
Ripke, who deems the separation of commercial and personal work to be very important, is pursuing a number of personal projects. At the beginning of his career, he concentrated more on landscape photography, whereas now he focuses more on travel reports on a wide aperture. For example, he documented the round-the-world trip he made with Marteria, the images of which can be seen in the book “Mit Marteria zum Glück in die Zukunft II”. His photographic accounts of the year in review, in the form of the photo books “Zweitausentzwölf”, “2013” and “MMXIV”, were also met with a great enthusiasm. In these visual journals, the reader obtains an insight into Ripke’s professional work, which takes him to locations all across the globe. All of the images are taken with a Leica M, with which Ripke captures his reports. The unobtrusive nature of this camera, which he uses mostly to take photographs from hip-height, forms the basis of the closeness and natural character that can be felt in these images. In 2013, Ripke also published a photo book entitled “Zwei Minuten Zufall”, which contains a selection of 125 images from a four year project. Applying the same principle throughout the project, it resulted in a total of 400 spontaneous and natural portraits of famous figures, taken across a timeframe of two minutes for each person.
With the exclusive report “One Night in Rio”, the theme of which was the night of Germany’s fourth victory at the World Cup, Ripke has created his most successful photo book, with over 100,000 sales. At the end of 2015, Ripke and the band “Die Toten Hosen” published all of the photo journalistic reports that he had captured for the band over the years, in a photo book entitled “Bitte Lächeln”. Alongside his work as a photographer, Ripke also hosts workshops in Costa Mesa, California, as part of the RIPKEDEMY.
Ripke lives with his wife and two children in California.