We had the good fortune of connecting with Patrick Rivera and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patrick, why did you pursue a creative career?
I’ve always been inclined into the arts growing up. Primarily because I was exposed to a lot of Disney, Looney Tunes and Hanna Barbera cartoons; and Marvel and DC comic books. I remember wanting to become either an animator or an illustrator. I had sketchbooks full of random drawings and superheroes. Fortunately, I have a supportive family who have nourished me with all these visual stimulants and provided me tools to express them. I already knew back then that I would become an artist in any way or form. My heart was in it. True enough I became a graphic designer for a number of years before finally deciding to become a photographer.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am mostly inspired with Rembrandt, Courbet and Bouguereau Paintings. I’m very much at awe on how these painters played with lighting their subjects. Some of my personal projects especially my earlier works are deeply influenced by them. But whenever I am engaging with a client, my approach is more on collaborative method. I would normally ask them what kind of photos they are aiming for and from there I would share my ideas in a form of pegs or mood board. The client and I will be brainstorming and throwing some ideas until we reached to a mutual decision. In the end, we would achieve with something what we would be proud of.
It took me a while in deciding to become a full-time photographer. It all started as a hobby in 2009 then it eventually became my “creative outlet” which I find funny given I was a graphic designer back then in the Philippines. Every weekend I would go out and shoot anything under the sun since I was searching for what kind of photography I want to delve into. Until finally portrait photography stuck with me. I love the interaction and connection that I am having with another person who normally I wouldn’t get a chance to relate with. And then in 2013 I took a leap of faith, quit my job and study photography in France. While I was living in Paris, I absorbed as much information and culture as I could. I was surrounded with beautiful art and creative people 24/7, it was an esthetic overload and I loved it. After I obtained my European Master’s Degree in Studio Photography in 2015, I moved back to Manila and had to start from scratch as a photographer. I did some commercial works and at the same time, collaborations with a non-governmental organization as a volunteer photographer to help with their advocacy. I also managed to have two solo and one group photography exhibitions in cooperation with France Volontaires, Alliance Française de Manille and the local French Embassy. I lived in Manila for two years until migrating to LA to be with my family in 2017. I had to restart my life yet again and rebuild my network and connections. Something I’ve learned especially about me is how passion has always been my driving force. That sometimes you’d need to have a “day job” to pay your bills and do what you love on the side while you’re slowly building your empire. I am a firm believer that hard work pays off. And how important it is to have a support group maybe in a form of family, friends and/or loved ones who will inspire you and push you to work harder. Lastly, is to enjoy the process. I want the world to remember me as the person who loved and respected the art of photography without taking it too seriously.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Ok, I may be not the best person to ask this since I am also relatively new here but I’ll try haha. If it’s pre-covid, I would easily suggest taking the Warner Brothers studio tour which is very much impressive. And do the normal touristy things like going to Disneyland, Venice Beach, Griffith Observatory, Farmers’ Market and among others. Watching live tapings of James Corden and Ellen will definitely be included. But I would say my favorite would be roaming around my haven the Arts District, which is my go-to place for shoots as well. The old warehouses, bright color graffiti and the venue itself is a work of art. Then grab a bite at Urth Caffé while we’re at it. Their Panini Prosciutto di Parma, Coconut Royale and their organic teas are definitely a must try.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Normally I would place my family and friends here who have always been behind me through these years. And I have expressed this from previous featured articles, social media posts and photographic events. But this time I would like to acknowledge Marc Prüst, my former Visual Identity professor at Spéos Paris Photographic Institute, who left a huge impact in my photography process. The lessons I learned from him, I still practice to this very day. I will forever be thankful for his mentorship.
Tyler Stone, Danilo Franco, Jacob Dadanian, Maiya Victoria Sanchez, Fran Sanchez, Richelle Cabangcala, WildWires, Minerva Regencia, Anthony Ian Abrasaldo, Aaron James Mabilin, Jahtiba Collins, Keith Collins, Anthony Herrero and Rogelio Cardona Escobar.