A FANTASTICAL WORLD WHERE STORIES OF MAGIC UNFOLD & SUBJECTS DEFY GRAVITY: INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTOPHER J RIVERA

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1. Tell us a little about yourself and how photography has helped you grow as a person.

Well, howdy! My name’s Chris and I’m a photographer and barista living in Camarillo, California (an hour north of L.A. and an hour south of Santa Barbara)! I have just so happened to be surrounded by photography and video my entire life; my mom had a Pentax film camera and my dad did some videography for weddings and events. I didn’t really care for photography when I was a teenager because by that time, my dad bought a point-and-shoot camera and took pictures ALL THE TIME. It was not until high school where a friend started a photography club at school that I was introduced to the art of actually taking photos as oppose to snapshots and DSLRs. Once I graduated, I bought my first camera: a Canon Rebel T2i which would last me nearly 4 years.

" Photography has not only helped me with staying creative, but it’s helped me step out of my comfort zone, whether it’s traveling to new places or meeting other people on social media in real life! "

I’ve made so many real life connections and friends thorough Instagram alone, and its cray how photography brought us together!

2. For viewers unfamiliar with your work, how would you introduce them to your practice ?

" My work consists of what my brain essentially has: scatterbrained, whimsical and somewhat beautifully dark imagery that tells a story. "

I like to be very experimental with my work, so I can surprise my audience with every art piece, plus, who wants to post the same thing all the time? 

3. What is currently in your camera bag ?

Currently in my camera bag is my Canon 6D, my 50mm f/1.4 lens and my 24-105mm lens! I do sometimes carry certain smaller props that I may want to use on a whim when I’m out shooting!

4. What do you use for inspiration and how do you come up with new ideas for each shoot ?

Oh, I have plenty of random things that I use as inspiration for photos and shoots: music (mostly R&B and hip-hop and some electronic music), darker fantasy and sci-fi movies, myths, some religion, minimalism and nature! I know, it’s a melting pot of aspects in life, but it’s what makes my work mine! As for coming up for new ideas for each shoot, I just love to think of different ways to approach familiar ideas that one wouldn’t necessarily think of. 

5. You use captions on your social media channels to accompany your images. Where do these captions come from ? 

Honestly, I come up with most of them; if there’s no caption credit on the bottom of the caption, it’s me! I love to look into my photos after I create them and make a story of it so I can share how I translate my photo. In a way, I like my art to be solidified. 

 
6. Do you like to plan your images before you construct them? If so, how does the process work ?

Sometimes! For a lot of my photos, I look at certain variables: where I’m at, what the weather is like, what I’m wearing (or have on me), and what kind of photo I’m feeling.

" There are times though, where I’ll be going on through my day when a vision for a shoot instantly pops into my head so strong, that I have to write down explicit details and draw pictures of concepts in a journal I have set specifically for that! "

Now that I think about it, a lot of my work is shooting on a whim!

7. What do you consider to be the best photograph you have ever taken and why ?

I wouldn’t say that I have a favorite photo. I love most of my photos, hence that’s the reason I post them. Some favorites that I can list off of my head are: “Mind the Birds” (portrait silhouette with double exposure buildings and birds flying out of it), “Summer’s Love” (elongated female subject with a huge dress hanging off a ledge), and “The Testing” (Harry Potter inspired image)! It’s funny because whenever I answer this sort of question, I always give different answers! 

8. Let’s talk about Photoshop. We understand it has had a huge impact on your style of photography but do you think it has had any negative impact on the photography industry as a whole ?

" Mmm, Photoshop is nectar of the gods! Haha! "

It can not only help you create worlds and realities that you’ve always wanted to live in, but it can also help you with the most basic photos! Sure, people give Photoshop a bad rap because they watch the videos of celebrities being photoshopped to reach certain looks or users cheating on photo contests by retouching a photo, but I don’t think it gives a negative impact on the photo industry. I think it’s a great tool to create what you want to create, and no one should see that as a bad thing: create what you want, it’s your life.

CHRISTOPHER J RIVERA

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