Free-spirited Ikaika isn’t concerned about winning the proverbial rat race. He’s living each day happily and fulfilled, documenting moments in time that mean the most to him. Check him out below.
Say hello to Ikaika:
Where are you from? Where have you been?
Born in Hawaii and raised in Truckee, CA (North Lake Tahoe). I went to University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu, HI. I currently reside in Portland, OR. I’ve been to cool places in my life, but I’d like to see Pocatello, Idaho – it’s a legendary spot for photographers to find their style, like a mecca, you know?
What’s your favorite place in the world?
I love Kalihi on Oahu. It’s a rich, diverse place with a ton of culture. I sometimes reminisce of the best days of my life there. I have not taken a photo of this place because of how special it is to me!
What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?
Music videos, corporate-sponsored content, which I cloak as my own for generous amounts of money, and family-friendly dance videos.
How would you describe your visual style?
I try to make it poppin’ and as 3D-ish as possible. Every picture needs to have the same gravity to it as its moment in life. If not, you’re not giving justice to the documentation of time and what it represents.
How do you find your inspiration?
Shortly put, nature. In the trees, the wind, the bees. I find it by looking at the ground, surrounded by nothing but river sounds. Whereas the busy man may love the city, I’d rather sit on a mountain top – oh so pretty.
How did you come up with Tiki?
Tiki is a character in a Crash Bandicoot game – it was my favorite growing up. I still play it to this day – Playstation 1 is one of the most important inventions for my family and I.
Tell us about your career. How did you get into it?
I was shooting at my first concert in Portland and posted one on Instagram. Mike Carson (the live visual director for Big Sean, PARTYNEXTDOOR, Bryson Tiller, and more) saw it and asked me to email him some. I sent them over, and the editor of EYES&EDGE reached out to me and asked if I could start covering live shows for them. Long story short, I’m the Head Photographer for them now, and couldn’t be happier – never be depressed!
What types of photography do you do?
I mainly do music photography at concert festivals. It taught me how to be quick with my gear and really know what I’m doing at a moment’s notice. Low-light action captures are hard in itself, but can you take a legit banger when you only have 3 songs to do it? It’s really really hard to do, even for the most practiced photographer.
I also dabble in food photography of fine dining restaurants. The plating is gorgeous and I appreciate the process that goes into a single plate. When I get the urge, sometimes I’ll go into a restaurant, order a dish or two, take the pictures when it comes out, and just pay and leave. I won’t even eat it! It’s just a love for the complexity of plating.
What has been your biggest setback as a photographer?
Being broke all the time. Photography is an expensive hobby – definitely leaves no room to party, stay up all night, be overly social, get drunk, and make stupid mistakes.
Photography is competitive. How do you stand out?
By not focusing on the competition. Rat races never make sense, but if you can find satisfaction in what you do, then even your mom doesn’t have to understand why you’re taking pictures as a career.
What is the best thing a model can do to make the most of a photoshoot?
Keep their clothes on. Too many girls are taking advantage of selling their sex, and it’s too easy. Have some respect for yourself, unless you’re shooting with me – in that case, we’re getting those likes for you!
What’s your philosophy when it comes to being a great photographer?
Do what you want to do. No one controls your shooting or editing style. What’s taught in a YouTube lesson isn’t set in stone; flip, rip, dip, and sip that sauce until you make your own!
What’s the most inspiring photo you’ve ever seen?
What photography advice do you wish you had when you were first starting out?
I wish that someone would tell me how to do everything I know, but that’s the learning process. Maybe one day, I’ll write a book of all my little tidbits and tips, for future young versions of me.
What will you be doing five years from now?
Either taking pictures everyday for money or sitting in my parents’ basement.
For anyone that wants to get in touch with Ikaika, here’s some contact information:
Ikaika, thanks for the cheeky interview! 😉
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.