Tim Ritchie: Ex-Hedonist
I don’t do a lot of the things I used to do when I was a bit famous. I didn’t have all the normal social training because I had a weird family. I locked myself away from them and had all my meals in my room and just read Russian romantic novels, listened to music and lived an austere and bleak teenage life.
I was a dj on the radio and things come your way. I lived my life very fully in all aspects. They were wild and dizzy times. You could get anything you wanted and so I took it. When I was young I didn’t realise, I didn’t understand emotions and consequences. I think I was not the nicest person that I could have been back then.
I’m not interested in that now. My morals have changed.
I bought my first house in SH in 1986. I moved out of home when I was 17 in the late 70s and so I’ve lived in the city since then. Johnny’s Fish café was an icon in Surry Hills. He knew everyone’s name and you’d say “Hello Johnny” and he’d say “Hello Tim” and you’d bring a bottle of cheap wine. Occasionally he’d have a glass with you.
Reality was grittier back then. I was younger and the grittiness appealed to me. Back in the old days clubs would trade until 3am and I’d finish doing club dj work then. Everyone else would have to go home because they had day jobs and I didn’t because I had to be on the radio in the evening. So I used to wander around Sydney by myself looking at Sydney.
When I got a proper job in management and worked daytimes, I realised I missed that. So I started riding my bike. I wanted to capture Sydney empty. Surry Hills empty. That’s exciting to me. Humanity is hidden away. These places that are usually full of humans have none. Sometimes I’d see syringes run over and a photo of that looks good. Squashed flat. You’d find that in the laneways. Now the street sweepers are too thorough. You don’t find that.
I now take a lot of photos, I’ve been doing that since 2010. I’m usually looking for gritty. I find beauty in gritty lanes. Through my minds eye of the past, I can take a photo of a lane that I know was a bad lane, now it’s not. When I take a photo of the lane I try and make it look like the lane it was. Some of the photos look a bit spooky.
I’m quite funny about humans. I don’t really need them particularly. I don’t dislike them. But I’m quite comfortable with my own company. As long as I don’t become the curmudgeon hermit. I find anonymous community. I’m one of the most helpful people. I’m there. I don’t need to make long-term relationships but I like helping people.
I have the black dog sometimes who comes and sits near me. I feel a bit sad. I have to try and let that not affect my wife and child. I had times of solitude in my life growing up. But I didn’t go bad. I didn’t turn to drugs and alcohol. I turned to music and literature. Creativity is important.
Sometimes people look at my photos on social media and they “like” the photos. I have added something to their day.
I’m happy with the way things have gone. I believe in the greater good and adding to society in whatever way I can. I volunteer. I like helping people. I love passing on what I already know. I give.