Ripley was drawn to art and photography from a young age and by his teens this had grown to become an all-consuming passion which over time developed into a life-long career.
His parents, an actress and a musician, were passionate about animals and were involved with keeping large cats as part of a Europe wide conservation programme. These unique and striking subjects gave Ripley a true focus on which to practice his art. Although beautiful to photograph, these were dangerous wild animals and this experience gave him a unique understanding and insight into the psychology of animal behaviour and how to perceive how an animal is feeling or reacting to its environment. As a teenager Ripley had his picture of a Caracal Lynx exhibited at Hamilton's Gallery in Mayfair, London.
At around this time Ripley also started photographing music artists and this found him ten years later working on a global level providing imagery for major recording artists, record labels and international publications (pub; Rip). During this period he also started to develop his retouching techniques alongside his photography in order to realise a complete integrity and cohesiveness within the images he was creating.
Musicians gave way to photographing conceptual fashion imagery (pub; Visionaire, Surface, Esquire, Vogue) high profile sports advertising campaigns (Beckham/Adidas), an exhibition in London featuring his large-scale portraits of Formula One drivers, and worldwide advertising campaigns for various global corporations.
Hungry to expand his knowledge of all facets of photography and driven by his desire to understand and master all the technical and post-production challenges that the genre demands, Ripley started working with various high-end automotive clients and soon became internationally recognised in this commercial field for his fresh artistic vision and technically precise imagery.
In the photographic community Ripley was asked by state-of-the-art camera manufacturer Hasselblad to provide imagery for the global launch of their flagship model the 200MS (other contributors to the campaign included The Tate Modern) He was also invited to be a judge for the Hasselblad International Masters Awards 2011-2012, and again for 2015-2016. His imagery has also been used to showcase their high-end photographic equipment and product launches. A selection of Ripley's work was presented in the Hasselblad publication "Victor : Photography Book One" - just twelve photographers worldwide were selected for this first edition.
In 2011 Ripley decided to go back to his roots and rediscover his love of animal photography, to create personal work and to do something with which he was truly captivated. What started out as almost a fanciful idea, through chance meetings and new friendships with people who understood what he was striving to achieve, Ripley started the journey, discovering a whole new world - the world of thoroughbred horses.
Ripley engrossed himself in the subject matter, studying in-depth the history of equine portraiture and the lives and works of artists such as George Stubbs, John Frederick Herring, Emil Adams and Sir Alfred Munnings - to name a few. He also enrolled in the Evening Lecture Programme at The National Stud in Newmarket, which involved 42 lectures over six months. This he did not only to gain as much information about the anatomy of the thoroughbred, but also to gain knowledge in all aspects ranging from the lifecycle, breeding, stud management, psychology and welfare. Ripley now attends lectures regularly with both the NS and the TBA, as well as gaining invaluable knowledge imparted to him by world renowned trainers, bloodstock agents and owners.
Ripley was invited to hold the world premier exhibition of his work by The Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket and this was held throughout the July Week Festival 2014. The solo exhibition, entitled Ripley - The July Week Exhibition showcased 12 examples of his early thoroughbred portraits.
In 2015 Ripley presented works at The London Art Fair, completed works with California Chrome, Postponed and Galileo Gold amongst others, and was invited to create a bespoke portrait for the Goodwood Festival "Glorious Goodwood" ; the picture featured an unnamed racehorse taken from a previous artwork stood in front of Goodwood House. He was asked again to create a piece for 2016, which this time featured 'Galileo Gold' overlooking Goodwood Racecourse and the Sussex Downs.
In late 2015 Ripley was commissioned to create a portrait of Estimate for Her Majesty The Queen. Estimate, winner of the Ascot Gold Cup in 2013, was pictured in foal in September 2015 with the final piece completed in early 2016.
Ripley presented the portrait to Her Majesty at a private function May 2016, and this was subsequently delivered to Sandringham House in June.
In December that year Her Majesty gifted a half-sized framed print of the picture, personally inscribed, to The Aga Khan on the occasion of his 80th birthday.
As of 2017, a replica (Artists Proof) of the framed 6x4.5ft image was loaned to Ascot Racecourse where it now forms part of a permanent installation, including video, about Ripley’s work.
In 2017 Ripley produced the portrait ‘Leopard Spotted Horse with Dalmatians in a Landscape’, and completed commissions with The Gurkha (Coolmore), and Rajasinghe (Coventry Stakes winner at Royal Ascot 2017). Ripley was also invited as the speaker for the inaugural Munnings Birthday Lecture, held at The Munnings Art Museum.
In late 2018 Ripley completed the picture ‘Pivotal - pictured with Mares & Foals at Cheveley Park Stud, Newmarket'. As of October 30th 2018 the 1st of the edition was displayed at Palace House - the National Heritage Centre for Horseracing & Sporting Art, in Newmarket (UK).
Present; Ripley is currently in the process of producing further works with thoroughbred racehorses as well as a 3 year project creating a series of twelve large-scale pieces with The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment. Primary photography with the HCMR was completed in July 2017 with background plates captured throughout 2017 and 2018 (with more to be done in 2019). An auction of the completed works will be held in 2020/21 to raise funds for the Household Cavalry Foundation Charity (further details TBA).
With a true understanding and empathy when working with horses, Ripley has a unique viewpoint and vision which may have only been possible at this point in his life. He is now able to impart over 25 years worth of knowledge and experience of high-end photography, lighting, retouching and drawing techniques, to the world of equine portraiture, and envisages a lifetimes worth of work striving to create imagery which truly honours them.