Rob Tennent has been a customer of ours for a few years now, and we’re honoured to be able to feature his work on our blog. His upcoming photo book, “I’m going to Miss You” was a massive 200 page undertaking for Rob, shot entirely on medium format. The book documents “the long and nostalgic summer days, shared with beautiful men. The photography book explores intimacy, sensuality, and romance.”
Tell us a little bit about yourself!
I was born in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and lived there for about 8 years before moving to around a bit, eventually settling in New Zealand when I was 12 years old. I studied fashion at AUT for three years which led me into modelling and making friends in fashion. I started shooting when the pandemic hit. I bought a medium format camera and decided to teach myself how to shoot. And here we are a year and a bit later!
What is your current camera setup and favourite film?
I use a Mamiya 645 that I got from Japan and currently use Portra 400 just because it’s safe! But I would love to play around more.
What is important to you when taking photographs? (for example its important that I represent my community, or important that I am authentic to myself)
For me, I like to cast as diverse as I can, and when I am in charge of creating teams, I try to have as many people of colour on set. I think these opportunities allow others to grow in our industry and it’s also refreshing! I also like to make the subject comfortable as that’s what will make the photos come out relaxed and raw.
You mention in your interview with Viva that your first book was almost too personal to publish. Have you gotten used to shooting for a bigger audience, or is it still quite nerve wracking?
I think I certainly have gotten used to it. I went into publishing my first book with no expectations and didn’t plan much, I just went with the flow and after the reaction I did have a small moment thinking “oh shit”. Looking back I handled it pretty well being only 19 when it came out. Now I actually prefer shooting for a bigger audience, I think it pushes me to create better work.
How has the queer community reacted to your series?
I feel supported and celebrated. I think the community just loves to see someone queer doing their own thing and doing it confidently.
What was the hardest part about shooting the new book?
Apart from the obvious financial part, coming up with enough interesting concepts to fill up 200 pages was a challenge at times. Having to then put it all together and picking 200 images out of 500 or 600 was also difficult!
Where do you see yourself in 5 – 10 years time with your photography work?
I hope in 5 years I would have put out my third book, whatever that looks like. I want to be experiences with different cameras and film. I would love to still be working in fashion when I am 32. In 10 years I would have showed my work in exhibitions around the world, shot campaigns, a couple covers I hope! In 10 years I hope I am doing what I love and creating good work that is relevant to 2031. I hope I am working with younger creatives and learning from them, I will embrace them and study how they work. Because at 32, I am sure I will have a lot more to learn, and hopefully some tips to hand down.
How do you find motivation to continue to go out and pursue your creative endeavours?
I am very self motivated. I have big dreams and I have a life I want to live and I simply will do what it takes. I have ideas I want to share, collaborations I want to do. I want my work to be seen and I want to be able to give back to younger creatives.
Go have a look at Rob’s website at ‘I’m Going to Miss You’ Book (Pre Order) | Rob Tennent (bigcartel.com) for pre-orders. Otherwise you can find Rob on Instagram at @rob.tennent.