We had the good fortune of connecting with Rachel Willis and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rachel, what do you want your legacy to be?
Legacy is a small word with such a huge meaning behind it. I want people to remember how my work made them feel both in the moment and when they got to see their portraits. I want to be remembered as someone who no matter how many times I failed, no matter how hard life got or how much loss i encountered I still pushed on. not just for myself but also for my number one supporter, my husband, my miracle girls, my clients past, present and future and all those who see work i got to create now and for future generations.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I love photographing people in the here and now. We tend to forget ourselves in the hustle and bustle of day to day life so it is a great feeling to bring out a persons beauty and personality through a photo session. One thing i can say that sets me apart from others is my journey. It has been a very bumpy road and i have had to start over several times. Battleing depression, health issues, pregnancy issues and general life issues have been bumps in the road that i have learned to use them to elevate myself and try to push myself to the next part of my story. I am excited for every session i get to do and even more so when i get to do a creative session to keep the motivation and creative juices flowing. I have learned no matter how bad something goes or how much you feel you failed it can all be turned around. It is about how you react to failure or situations that really matters. I want the world to know that it’s not just me creating the images of every session or the ongoing creativeness engrained in me by my Maker, it is also the beautiful souls in front of my camera. All their scars from their ups and downs all their joy and eagerness for life and desire for the next chapter of life.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I think this has changed a little with the current times we are living in. But i would definitely start our days with tea or coffee at Reborn Cafe or at Cafe Montrose while grabbing some delicious pork belly hash for breakfast. I would then visit LA Arboretum or Huntington Library. Lunch at Cafe 86 in Pasadena. Of course we have to go to the DTLA Arts District to see all the murals and more tea at Urth Caffe. Dinner at Pepes Red Tacos Truck. Antoher day would consist of a trip to one of Malibu’s gorgeous beaches. Definitely a trip to Griffith Observatory and a shopping and lunch trip to Olvera Street.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
HUGE shoutout to The Rising Tide Society, specifically the Pasadena & Los Angeles Tuesdays Together groups. Great group of creatives that do nothing but support one another. Ciara & Kristyn founders of Forever Footprints in Orange County. Being a mother to seven miscarriages and one still birth this organization has helped me in my healing process and I have had the pleasure of giving back by volunteering my photography services at their events. Also Victoria Malone for supporting me before, during and after she was on the Montrose Chamber of Commerce. I got to photograph some great ribbon cutting ceremonies and events of the local small businesses.
photo of myself taken by Edrea Lara Photography