Introducing Emil Rivera, a New York-based multidisciplinary designer, illustrator, photographer and storyteller. He’s a dedicated lomographer— always shooting with our film, hanging out at the store and using our lab services. A regular, a friend, a creator.
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into photography!
I am a graphic designer and illustrator, a bit of a loner, originally from the Dominican Republic but for the last six years I’ve been calling New York my home. If I am not trapped in the office making banners I am probably walking around taking photos.
In college i borrowed a friend’s Cybershot camera and started taking candid photos during an advertising class, around campus and in the dorms, but it wasn’t until i moved to New York that I realized how much iI enjoyed shooting, i think it also served as a way of understanding what was at the time a completely new environment. I am also a huge fan of time traveling stories and photography is the closest thing i have to that.
Do you normally shoot analogue or digital? Why?
These days i find myself shooting more film. I like film because it makes me more patient and lets me focus and enjoy shooting rather than rush to see the preview on an LCD screen, that distance between taking the photo and seeing the results makes the result so much more rewarding. There is also the nostalgia factor, the color the texture, how organic and real it seems.
It is a relaxing, almost therapeutic experience, if I am stressed or need to think i can always go for a walk, take some photos and come back fresh.
When I shoot digital there is always a film point and shoot as my backup.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Curiosity plays a big role in it. As a kid I would find dusty boxes of disposables lying around, little landscapes of rice plantations with agriculture and tiny people in them, i would make up stories and try to figure out what they were about.
I think now is very similar, I am a firm believer that we can always find something extraordinary within the ordinary, there is usually something interesting in all of us, some kind of non verbal story to be witnessed.
What advice would you give to other young photographers out there?
Try to be honest with your work and with yourself, pursue things that are important to you, give yourself to your photos. I think I’ve known all my life but only recently I am starting to believe it and take action about it, also don’t forget you take photos, have fun.
What do you love to do beyond photography?
I love drawing, I’ve kept a sketchbook for the past, six or seven years, i could probably draw all day, I guess is another way of documenting. I don’t think i do much else besides from that.
What does you creative process look like?
I often let things happen. I don’t think I’ve ever felt in complete control of my process, is more like I am in some kind of river just letting things flow. I like not knowing, keeps me open to possibilities and surprises, some better than other. I think that comes in really handy when i need to shoot for someone else, it becomes second nature.
Which camera do you use and what do you like about it?
I love compact cameras, i usually have one with me on my day to day, either my Contax T3, LCA or Olympus XA. They are all very fun to use, quick, very reliable and non threatening to whoever i am taking photos of.
What do your photographs mean?
A friend once told me what he enjoys the most about them was the feeling of loneliness. Most of my photographs take place in NYC, and in many ways this can be a lonely city. For me is not always like that but I feel that through them i get to witness these private (but public) moments of other people.
The New York City Gallery Store is located on 41 W 8th Street, New York NY 10010! We are open everyday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.. Make sure to stop by and show us your best photos!