YardEdge Talks To Peter Dean Rickards Part 1

Part 1 of a 2 Part Interview

YardEdge talks to Peter Dean Rickards, creator of The Afflicted Yard and editor of First Magazine.

YardEdge: Why are you a photographer? A writer?

Peter: I’m a writer because I love to write and I’m a photographer by accident.

YardEdge: When did you first realize that you wanted to become one (a writer/photographer if that’s how you describe yourself)?

Peter: If you had asked me 5 years ago if I was interested in becoming a photographer I would have looked at you funny. I can’t stand the title and I honestly don’t think it’s my passion. Although I’m not ungrateful for what appears to be some talent I suppose I want to do bigger things that encompass my writing and other interests as well. In this regard, I have begun to look at my years as a photographer as being the training for what I plan to do next-film.

YardEdge: How would you describe your work? (Are you a full time professional photographer? Equal parts writer vs. photographer?)

Peter: I used to derive a lot of joy from looking at a blank piece of paper or a blank computer screen and just writing anything I felt like for the hell of it. Typically it was a stupid story or a description of a memory or perhaps even something that really happened.

Photography made me lazy in this regard since I realised that I could often get a lot more communicated with a photograph than by sitting down to write. Consequently I began to write less and photograph more; with the writing part coming in when necessary as opposed to just a thing I did because I enjoyed it.

Photography also began to pay the bills and when I discovered that quite a few people were willing to pay, it just became my primary job.

So, to answer your question, I would have to say that that I’m a photographer until a few more pieces of equipment are acquired and I’m able to move into the world of video and film.

YardEdge: How have you developed your skills?

Peter: I guess development is relative. I am now doing gallery-type work which I think is a ‘development’ from being stuck shooting commercial stuff in Jamaica (which I don’t really enjoy). I also think my subject matter continues to diversify, although this is admittedly more related to subject matter that I find interesting as opposed to anything ‘skill related.’

I still don’t own any fancy cameras or artificial lights. To me, you should be able to do the same thing with a 3 dollar disposable camera than you can do with a Hassenblad and I’m just not interested in creating fake lighting.

YardEdge: The Afflicted Yard was created in 1999, I believe, almost 10 years ago, have you achieved what you set out to do when you started?

Peter: I think it did in that the site was never really set up to be anything more than a sort of place to just say and show what I felt like saying and showing. It’s admittedly a lot more static these days with my other efforts going into the re-launch of First Mag (which is actually about to re-launch again). But then, that’s what I’ve always liked about The Afflicted Yard. No matter what work is happening on the side, it is always there, as sort of the base. A thing that I can always fire up if the need arises.

Sometimes though, I think a lot of people missed the purpose of the site even though it’s had its purpose prominently displayed there ever since its launch. They take it too serious. They see the guns and the skinny women and the bloody crime scenes and think I’m promoting this or promoting that, and as a result, I guess I’ve unintentionally created a sort of persona that I continue to find somewhat bizarre if it is ever brought up at a social gathering or even in places like the university where I hear it is sometimes mentioned. To me these misconceptions can be quite funny (and funny to people who know me).

Despite a few unpleasant exceptions, people’s ideas about the site have been quite harmless, so I’ve never bothered to try to explain things since I figure that if you don’t get it, then you’re probably one of those people who’s into live poetry or something.

YardEdge: Where do you see Afflicted Yard going?

Peter: As I’ve said, the next chapter is film and since The Afflicted Yard follows me wherever I go, perhaps the video content will increase as I move further in that direction.

YardEdge: What are you trying to achieve with First magazine?

Peter: Some people are going take this the wrong way but I’m going to say it anyway. First is the sort of thing that a Jamaican should be able to show his/her friends and family abroad as evidence that we are not a bunch of illiterates. Of course, it would also be nice to see it recognized as a true alternative to the mainstream Jamaican media that exists now, but that will take some time and investment.

YardEdge: Are you happy with its development and reception so far, now that its back?

Peter: Response was great and it appears that a lot of people were happy to see it back. Although we were updating it at an insane rate up until a month ago, First was put on the back burner for a while as we sought to give it a more manageable redesign. Although we love how it looks now, we realized a lot of content was being missed which is not a good thing when you consider the sheer amount of work that goes into 6-10 posts a day.

While we pulled in aggregate content and gave it our own spin, much of the content was also original, so we’ve had to re-evaluate its design so that nothing is missed and our work is not wasted. It will be live again within by September 25, 2008.

YardEdge: Any plans to go back to print for First?

Peter: Yes, if things go according to plan, First will eventually be manifested as an annual coffee-table type book.

YardEdge: What do you consider to be your role as part of the “media”?

Peter: I think you would have to ask a ‘media-person’ that. I have no idea.

The Afflicted Yard:

First Magazine:

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YardEdge Talks to Peter Dean Rickards Part 2


  1. January 13, 2015 at 10:25 am — Reply

    Why viewers still make use of to read news papers when in this technological world everything is accessible
    on web?. twitter

  2. July 24, 2014 at 10:12 pm — Reply

    After I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify
    me when new comments are added- checkbox and from now on every time a
    comment is added I receive four emails with the same comment.

    Is there a way you are able to remove me from that service?
    Many thanks!

  3. September 21, 2011 at 10:30 am — Reply

    Good Day,

    I am in actuality loving your blog a lot and I am wishing good luck for your blog. I hope you keep on writing such nice articles as I always love your way of writing.


  4. March 1, 2011 at 5:49 am — Reply

    Do you have a facebook page ?I’d like to like it.

  5. February 26, 2011 at 9:58 pm — Reply

    Finnaly some clean info…found only bu”shit in the internet.

  6. January 16, 2011 at 1:46 pm — Reply

    Perfect article!
    Keep posting

  7. Teske
    January 1, 2011 at 6:18 pm — Reply

    Awesome point of view. Will come again. See you

  8. January 1, 2011 at 6:00 pm — Reply

    Great point of view. Will come again. Thanks

  9. December 28, 2010 at 8:48 am — Reply

    Good post. Well Done

  10. December 14, 2010 at 3:04 pm — Reply

    Such a nice post. Her should receive credit for it. Thanks

  11. November 27, 2010 at 4:14 am — Reply

    totally agree. you’re right. thanks

  12. […] out YardEdge’s interview with PeterDean Rickards  Part 1 & Part […]

  13. […] out YardEdge’s interview with PeterDean Rickards  Part 1 & Part […]

  14. […] out YardEdge’s interview with PeterDean Rickards  Part 1 & Part […]

  15. February 28, 2009 at 4:59 pm — Reply

    Great interview Karin and an amazing subject!

    His work speaks for itself; but he speaks very impressively about it also.



  16. February 28, 2009 at 1:20 pm — Reply

    […] YardEdge interview with Peter Dean Rickards Part 1 […]

  17. […] 5.  Yardedge Talks to Peter Dean Rickards […]

    October 12, 2008 at 8:12 am — Reply

    Excellent interview!!Great images,especially that of Blinders-Mr.Seaga and the youth painting the curbside.Looking forward to the new editions of FIRST MAGAZINE.Wishing you the best Peter.Continue doing great and essential work.

  19. Big Fan
    October 10, 2008 at 7:02 pm — Reply

    Love this guy! Def a secret admirer…his work is bold, daring, creative and I could go on and on….

  20. burrokeet
    October 10, 2008 at 6:59 pm — Reply

    This guy is a true genius- his photography reminds me somewhat of Diane Arbus. When his site first launched we used to voraciously read all of the new posts about the legless beggar and sammy the dog and so on

  21. Daniel
    October 10, 2008 at 1:23 pm — Reply

    Great Interview, I love this guy’s work, can’t wait for part two.

  22. […] Karin wrote an interesting post today onHere’s a quick excerptPeter: If you had asked me 5 years ago if I was interested in becoming a photographer I would have looked at you bfunny/b. I can’t stand the title and I honestly don’t think it’s my passion. Although I’m not ungrateful for what appears to b…/b […]

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