In an effort to become more involved on his college campus, Richie discovered his passion for the visual arts. Through photography and filmmaking, he’s able to convey his innermost thoughts. Not only has this pursuit given him a voice, but it’s also given him the opportunity to meet lifelong friends. Check him out below.
Say hello to Richie:
Where are you from? Where have you been
I am a New Yorker, born and raised. I’ve traveled a few times growing up – a couple of times to Florida and twice out of the country. I would love to travel more in the future.
What’s on your “bucket list” of ideas to create?
Well, I would love to make a cool YouTube video with one of my favorite YouTubers, Casey Neistat. I do not know what it would be, but it would be totally epic.
You collaborate with Born4TheWorld – tell us about that venture.
I have been working with Born4TheWorld since my first spring semester of college, and it’s been a great experience. Being a part of Born4TheWorld has made me a better filmmaker, as it has challenged me creatively. I have worked on many projects for Born4TheWorld – some being music videos, and one where I was the director of photography for their debut film, There’s No One Better. I was drawn to Born4TheWorld because I love what it stands for. It is so true about everyone – we are all born to do something in this world. That’s why we are all Born4TheWorld. I just love that saying.
Tell us about your career. How did you get into it?
It all started a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. Only kidding – where is a Star Wars scroll when you need one? It started back during my first semester in college. I was trying to join clubs to be more involved on campus and make new friends. The first club I joined was the photography club. The photography club did not last and eventually died, but I was still determined to become more involved. And that’s where my best friend, Ramon Nunez, comes in. I was going to a Student Government meeting to become a part of their public relations committee. I got to the meeting early, but did not see where it was held, so as I was leaving, I held the door for someone, realizing it was Ramon Nunez.
We were not friends yet, but I knew he was the guy running the meeting. I asked him where it was held, and he told me to follow him. During that meeting, Ramon told everyone to come to the other club he was running at the time, the drama club. Ramon told everyone that he had ordered too much pizza for that club and for anyone who showed up and stayed, they could have pizza. So I went to the meeting. Honestly, I went for the pizza, but left the club that day wanting to learn more about the entertainment industry, so I kept going back. I learned about acting and filmmaking, and I also became good friends with a few members from drama club. They are some of my closest friends today. Drama club got me involved in more clubs after that, one of them being film club. This club allowed me to grow even more as an individual – it enabled me to branch out and meet more people.
One of these individuals was Leandro Mars. When I met Leandro, he was a great dancer and a young, aspiring filmmaker. Leandro is very talented and I am glad that I had the pleasure of meeting him, because he is one of the reasons why I started taking photography seriously. I saw him doing photography over the summer, inspiring me to give photography another try. Leandro invited me to a Pursuit of Portraits Instagram meetup this past September, and I really fell in love with photography. It’s one of the other things besides filmmaking that I am really passionate about. Prior to college, I really didn’t do much in high school besides sports – I took a photography class, but I never really took it seriously up until now. I had an interest in film, but never thought someone like me could ever make a film or even do well in it. I can honestly say that I love that I got involved. If I hadn’t, who knows what I would be doing right now.
What types of photography do you do?
I mostly do portrait photography, but I would love to do landscape photography. I am always taken aback by beautiful landscapes. I’ve been showing doing different styles of photography on my personal Instagram.
What was the moment you decided to become a photographer?
It was after my first Instagram meet up. I just love being around like-minded individuals. Being around people who are passionate about photography is awesome and makes me more interested in it. Before that, I thought photography was cool, but never really thought about pursuing it, like I am now.
Of the photos you’ve taken, which three are your favorites?
To start off, I love all of the shots that I have taken, but these three are probably my favorite. Reasons why? Well, I know these are my favorite because they’re movement shots. The first picture in this line up is a photo of my brother from another mother, Ramon Nunez. The way the apple completely covers the eye still blows my mind, every time I look at it. I’m shocked that I captured this.
The second person in the line up is Leandro Mars. This was my first studio shoot, which was fun and awesome. This shot looks amazing because it’s as if he’s a comic book character jumping out of the page.
The third person in the line up is Felicia. I just love how the hair was captured. Everything felt right in this photo. She was a great model to work with and funny too. I would definitely work with her again.
What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?
Do not be afraid to fail. Allow yourself to learn, because behind every failure is a lesson. So embrace it and do not be afraid of it, because even a guy like me fails. Also, you do not need an expensive camera to be a photographer – I always tell people this. It’s not the camera – it’s the individual behind the camera. Now, if you’re thinking about starting photography and cannot afford a good camera, use your phone. It may not be the best quality, but it’s pretty close. It also allows you to stop making excuses on why you can’t pursue photography. The photo below was shot from my iPhone – unedited as well.
What is the best thing a model can do to make the most of a photoshoot?
Be friendly. This lifestyle is hard enough – being friendly and helping one another goes a long way.
What was your most memorable photoshoot?
Well, besides my first Instagram meetup, I would have to say when I first met my good friend, Will Cole. When I met him, I could not believe he had only been doing photography for a year and how amazing he was at it. Also, he is a chill and down-to-earth dude. I consider him to be my mentor. Will is always giving great tips on how to improve in photography.
If you could photograph anyone in the world, who would it be?
I would love to photograph President Obama. I think he is such an iconic person, especially in our history. It’d be cool to do a photoshoot with him.
Who do you want to give a shoutout to?
Well, I would like to thank everyone, because I feel that if I picked anyone in specific, I would leave someone out by accident. So, I am thanking everyone that I had the pleasure of meeting and working with so far. Everyone that I’ve met on this journey is truly amazing – I am lucky to have met you all.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to being a great photographer?
Be yourself, and don’t be a jerk. Being positive and staying true to yourself is all that matters. If you are able to do that, you are already a great photographer.
How do you bring out your model’s personality in a shoot?
Communication. I feel like the more you get to know your models and talk to them, the easier it is to capture their personality. So whenever I meet new models, I try to talk to them on a personal level. It makes the shoot more fun and helps build good relationships.
What do you think is the biggest thing holding you back in your photography?
Myself. I am my own obstacle. I could blame school or work, but that would be an excuse. Yes, school and work tend to get in the way a lot, but I am in control of those two factors. I control my own destiny. If school and work get too much in the way, I am the only person who can change it.
How do you express yourself through your photography?
My photos speak and express emotions that I can never convey through spoken words.
What kind of gear do you have?
I shoot with a Canon 70D. This camera is reliable – it takes pictures and video, which helps out when you do both.
What has photography done for you as a person? How has it changed you?
Photography has allowed me to become more outgoing and creative. Whenever I’m out doing photography, I love meeting new people – it is one of the joys of photography for me.
What’s something no one knows about you that you’d like to share?
I’m a first degree black belt in karate.
What’s one of your biggest fears?
Not being able to do what I love to do.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
Doing photography while skydiving – it’d be cool.
For anyone that wants to get in touch with Richie, here’s some contact information:
Richie, thank you for sharing your story with us! 🙂
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Also, remember to download the FStop app for iPhone here!