Richmond in 35
February 22 2015
Cities are all too often reduced to icons: yellow taxi New York boulevards, pretty Paris Cafés, London tube stations. In Richmond, Virginia’s case, it’s the mighty James River. Tavish Timothy captures the unseen textures of the River City in stunningly composed film photography. He photographs his city in the time between a full time job downtown and his side work co-curating a vintage menswear shop, Brass Tacks, with a close friend.
Tell us about yourself and your work.
I am a fairly reserved, yet anxious person. My mind is often occupied with recurring memories or daydreams. I’m obsessed with flow and finding the moments when everything else ceases. It’s a bit of a fleeting pursuit.
For many years, I spent days and nights creating and playing back music loops but it wasn’t until recently that I discovered I could reach a similar state through photography. I toy with familiarity in everyday spaces and challenge what otherwise would be a repetitive sight and take it elsewhere.
Richmond influences me a great deal. Its signs, light, people, cars, shadows, and history all inform my work. It’s a pause, some appreciation for an otherwise blur from a momentary glance in transit.
I recently found a Konica Big Mini while thrifting. Its growling, sportscar-like motor and size make it fun to shoot with. I tend to use a Pentax K1000, a purchase from a friend whose father was the original owner. It felt nice knowing who had owned it before, that it was a sort of an heirloom.
How’s life in Richmond?
Richmond’s a city of youth; both in terms of it’s energy and nostalgia for a not-too-distant past. Geographically, it’s a liminal space – it’s immediately surrounded by farms and serves as a sort of gateway into the American South. It’s very much Richard Linklater’s depiction of Austin in his early film Slacker. It’s a small place with many familiar faces, with paths that cross or simply don’t. It’s every bit what you make it.
What brought you here? When did you first arrive?
I moved to Richmond to attend university when I was seventeen. When I first arrived, I knew little about the city or its past, but over the years, I’ve come to learn a fair amount and continue to do so everyday.
Where’s the best breakfast in town?
Saison Market. It’s close to my pop-up at Rosewood and my barber of the last 6 years. Their Carnitas Hash, constant rotation of Erykah Badu singles, and a macchiato make for a solid start to a Saturday. The market’s vibe is not your usual suspect, as it’s often thought of as a weekday place. It’s a brunch you don’t have to wait for — you can be in and out in 20 minutes or spend most of the morning there.
How about your favorite coffee spot?
Lamplighter’s Summit Avenue Roastery. I like it, because it’s tucked away in the industrial area of Scott’s Addition. It’s a neighborhood filled with renovated lofts, Strongman gyms, and miscellaneous warehouses. Overall, it’s eerie, but it lends to a quiet cafe location, whose pour-over coffee makes it worth the trek.
Do you have a secret hideout anywhere in the city?
I often spend a Saturday afternoon or evening combing the racks of a Salvation Army, just outside the city. A few months back, a friend took me to a neighborhood community garden, tucked away in the city’s Museum District. When it warms up, I look forward to retreating there with a book and camera in-hand.
Which is your favorite neighborhood?
I tend to cycle through favorites often, but I’ve always had an affinity towards a little stretch of Strawberry Street. Between the beer selection of Strawberry Street Market, the canon of films at Video Fan, and memories of eating 8 1/2 pizza in Scuffletown Park, it’s a familiar block when I want to treat myself or out-of-town guests.