Cool, Calm and Collected…Her name is Rikki Wright. A photographer from the Midwest now residing in California following her passion. Our interaction was over the phone as I’ve never met Rikki in person but something that couldn’t be missed was her level of comfort with her words and general conversation. We got into our conversation like old friends who had a lot of catching up to do…
Who is Rikki?
“I’m a free spirit, an artist and a photographer. Photography is my art and my camera has always been my weapon of choice.” Rikki was born in Tuscaloosa, Alabama but moved to Champaign, Illinois at the age of two where she was raised after her mother passed away. Rikki talks about her aunt who owned a studio where she was a photographer. With excitement in her voice she says, “My aunt had a dark room and I became fascinated with the idea of capturing a moment and seeing how happy it made people when you showed them the result.” Seeing how happy the captured images made people made Rikki interested in photography after witnessing this process throughout her childhood. Due to her mother’s early death, Rikki doesn’t have much of her childhood documented and the moment she could pick up a camera to change that, she did just that.
When Rikki graduated high school, she wanted to major in broadcast journalism. When she started with her degree, she had the opportunity to work all aspects of broadcast journalism and that landed her behind the camera. Her time behind the camera reminded her of her love for it so she decided to take a photojournalism class. It was during this class she got the opportunity to play with a DSLR camera and that was all she needed. As Rikki recalls, “That experience for me was exactly like a kid in a candy store.” She joined the yearbook team after photojournalism class because her professor loved her work so much and encouraged her to join. Her work on the yearbook team really helped her practice shoots and soon after, she started going on assignments. It led her to take pictures of sororities and fraternities making her the go to photographer on campus to document their stories. Rikki quickly became ‘the girl with the camera.’ She completed her bachelor degree at Alabama A&M afterwards, she took the more professional route with photography. She began working closely with photographers she had assisted in Atlanta during college and landed an opportunity to intern for Rolling Out Magazine as a freelance photographer/writer. For Rikki, it hasn’t been an easy journey pursuing her passion. While she worked as a freelance photographer she had to work several part time jobs to make ends meet. After her time in Atlanta, Rikki moved to Miami, FL to grow as a person and photographer she spent a year in South Beach and then moved to Los Angeles, CA. When I asked her about the challenges she faces pursuing her dreams in LA she says, “It’s funny because what makes it great is also what makes difficult. There are so many photographers in LA, everyone is here to pursue their dream so there’s a lot of competition. As challenging as it is, I like it because it keeps me on my toes constantly trying to improve my work.”
Having had an aunt who was a photographer, I ask Rikki how her family has responded to her career choice. She says “My dad got me my first camera it was a Polaroid but once I decided to take up photography as a career, my family was not as supportive. due to that fact, I did not share much of my work with them.” Fortunately, as she developed her portfolio and became consistent with her work, her dad has become her biggest supporter and constantly expresses how proud he is of her and her work. As a creative, living in LA has been great for Rikki due to the diverse & unique nature of the city. She learns a new part of her talent everyday and it is a great feeling being around people who share her love for art and photography.
What’s next for Rikki?
She’s still trying to break into the industry in LA as a photographer. She wants the opportunity to put out a body of work that tells her story and eventually get her work into a gallery in LA. Rikki’s story shows that before success comes hard work and while her journey has not been easy, every opportunity she gets is a chance to grow and improve as an artist.
The message here is to never give up on your dream. If it’s in you, it’s there for a reason. Pursue it with all your heart and as usual, TRUST YOUR PROCESS!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this rant about Rikki.
XO – OMM