meet the photographer
Chris Rivera: an incredible presence. An immensely creative mind. Chris is a talented, humble yet brilliant, and incredibly kind individual and artist. His work is filled with conceptual thought and energy. Upon spending time with him we were excited to have a change to learn more about what goes on in his mind when he is creating. Read his interview below, check out our photoshoot with him, and see more of his work. Also, follow him on Instagram.
MZ: Name and title?
CR: My name is Christopher Rivera and I’m a fine art and conceptual photographer, amateur videographer and barista!
CR: I’m based out of Camarillo, California: a smaller suburb an hour between both Los Angeles and Santa Barbara. It’s a cute little area because I’m 15 minutes from the closest beach, weather’s nice, and it has beautiful places around!
MZ: You call yourself a “Conceptual Photographer” on Instagram. Can you describe what that is?
CR: When I say “conceptual” on my profile, I mean that my photos can tell somewhat of a story. I provide my own story for what I see in my photo as a caption for my photos: I do encourage my audience to interpret what they want as well, and it’s so fun to hear different views!
MZ: At what moment in your life did you realize that you wanted to do photography?
CR: I realized when I was in high school; my friend started up a photography club and it looked super interesting! Even though I only had a point and shoot camera, I still made an effort to shoot at every meeting and eventually buy a DSLR at the end of the school year!
MZ: How did you find and hone your style of photography?
CR: One day, I was scrolling through Flickr and I found a fellow photographer named Brooke Shaden and just went head over heels at her work! I studied her work as well as Annie Leibovitz’s commercial work and that’s what started my workflow!
MZ: Your website says that your photos are “based on the world of fantasy: whether it be whimsical or dark.” Why fantasy? What about this kind of genre draws you?
CR: Fantasy, by definition, is imagining the impossible and improbable. I’ve always been the type of person to daydream and imagine things happening around me: I’m just finally glad i found a medium that I can physically display my dreams.
MZ: Your website features a number of photography series. What kind of story do you tell with these series of photos? What creative / mental process do you undergo before determining which photos to shoot / pick for the series?
CR: Most of these stories have different themes, and are initially sparked by different things: “The Curse” is inspired by “Holy Grail” by JAY Z and “The Looping” is inspired by Harry Potter. I work on my series around a base image that pops into my head and in turn, inspires me to create other images around it.
MZ: We understand that a lot of oneself goes into whatever he or she creates, but do you have a photo, or series, that is particularly meaningful to you?
CR: I’m starting to get a little deeper with my series when I brainstorm nowadays, but a series that I can remember that was meaningful to me was “The Curse”. The concept of the story is how an idea can spark (first image), can spread (second image) and can finally consume someone. I felt really in tune with myself and imagined all of the times that I had been really inspired like my image.
MZ: What else makes you happy?
CR: Lots of things really make me happy: being with my family and friends, exploring new places and being inspired. Another few things that I think make me happy are making people laugh, sparking inspiration and seeing those around me being proud and happy with themselves.
MZ: How do you adventure with photography?
CR: Like anyone else does! It’s easy for me because I don’t particularly have to be in a group setting to shoot with people, because I can get away with doing self portraits. I still love to go to gorgeous places and shoot landscapes that I can use for concepts as well!
MZ: Do you feel you have fulfilled your own definition of success? If not, what are you doing along the way?
CR: Yes and no. Yes, that I feel confident in my work when it’s created and people get inspired by it. No, to the fact that I’m still growing in my ways as a photographer and artist, and I would love to just do photography as a full time career.
MZ: Any photography hacks you have to share with the audience?
Hmm… photography hacks. I guess what I would say is to just continue shooting and experimenting with different settings, poses, and lighting: this gives a photographer experience in different situations and confidence to take on out of the ordinary jobs.
MZ: What are your next steps? Or upcoming projects you are working on?
CR: I have plenty of photo shoots, collaborations and videos that I’m working on and brainstorming. They actually have me really excited and I can’t wait to mindfully create art with some new friends.
MZ: Is there one person in your life who has helped you get to where you are?
CR: Honestly, all of my friends and family are super supportive and encouraging of my art. I would not single out one person because each has lifted me up and helped me out in some sort of way. It’s just easier to consider them all as one collective person, really. ;)