I was very sad to learn that the lights finally went out at www.ricohforum.com this month. The website, though patronised by some great photographers - amateur and professional over the years - has been facing both a user and fund crisis for some time. For more than decade it has served the needs of Ricoh users very well. Whether you were an original user of the GRD I, II, III or IV, an early adopter of the innovative but unfortunate GXR system or a devotee of the more recent APSC GR avatars, there was always a welcoming and well-informed community to both critique and appreciate your photographic efforts while providing a platform for the new initiate to learn about GR gear and lore.
Pavel, the founder and administrator of the site, was himself something of a knowledge mine on Ricoh cameras (both film and digital). Unfortunately, unlike other sites focused on the likes of Fujifilm gear, he never received support or encouragement from the company whose cameras he played no small part in promoting. I have personally gained so many valuable insights, tips and tricks from the website over the years that I can honestly say that I have grown in my understanding, tastes and techniques as a result of the plethora of interactions on the forum.
I joined the party quite late, in 2011, with the Ricoh GRD III. I then went on to acquire and love the GRD IV and finally settled with the Ricoh GR, a gem that remains by my side to this very day and against which every other purchase since - the Fuji X100S, X100F, X70, Panasonic LX100, Sony A6000 - has been compared and contrasted. Since I prefer to shoot street, documentary, urbanscapes and travel, the Ricoh GR has bested them all except in a very few instances where the aforementioned cameras have held their own.
Needless to say, the Ricoh GRDIV and Ricoh GR accompanied me everywhere from 2012 - 2106. They still retain a special place in my heart and the call to use the GR surfaces every time I get frustrated with another piece of gear that pretends to be more sophisticated and capable. In this age, where the convenience of smartphones vies with the versatility and quality of ILCs, the form factor and performance of the Ricoh GR serves as a constant reminder that cameras can still be made that serve both ends of the spectrum without sacrificing the essential requirements, for me, of photography: gear responsiveness, image clarity and creative latitude.
As a token of farewell to a website to which I remain indebted, below are 24 examples of how Ricoh has served me over the years, training my vision and my instincts, ensuring by this method that I constantly aspired to something better than I was. Each one was posted on the forum all those years ago.
Craftsmen, Cambodia, 2012, GRDIV
Nightlife, Jersey City, 2012, GRD IV
The sign, Jersey City, 2012, GRD IV
BAM, NYC, 2013, GRD IV
Caricatures, NYC, 2013, GRD IV
The viewer, NYC, 2013, GRD IV
Strangers on a train, NYC, 2013, GRD IV
The morning after, Jersey City, 2013, GRD IV
Mayan mummers, Yucatan, 2013, GR
Museum, Philadelphia, 2013, GR
Pera, Istanbul, 2013, GR
Firing her up, Cappadocia, Turkey, 2013, GR
1 Km above the earth, Cappadocia, 2013, GR
Flare, Cappadocia, 2013, GR
Lake Champlain, Vermont, 2014, GR
The coca-leaf seller, Urubumba Valley, Peru, 2014, GR
Macchu Picchu, Peru, 2014, GR
Lake Titicaca, Peru, 2014, GR
Ellis Island, 2015, GR
Mohonk Preserve, NY State, 2015, GR
Storm, Liberty State Park, 2015, GR
Spring, New Jersey, 2016, GR, GM-1
Morris Canal, Jersey City, 2016, GR
Jogjakarta, Java, 2016, GR