Have you ever seen Ariel Winter’s stunning Rogue photoshoot? Or Sophia Richie’s cover for Fault magazine? We found out that the lensman behind this is a budding professional photographer who dedicates himself to telling stories through images. We had a sit down interview with Irvin Rivera, an LA-based Filipino photographer who is catching the eye of a number of Hollywood stars.
It all started as a fun hobby. At the height of America’s Next Top Model (ANTM), Irvin Rivera and his college friends would play with the light, create their own scenarios and take photos of themselves all because of their desire to create and share stories through images.
“Since there’s no pressure, it was pure joy,” this Los Angeles-based self-taught photographer Irvin Rivera told in an exclusive interview with Morning News USA. “It never felt daunting at all since photography for me is deeply rooted in joy and the excitement of always discovering something new.”
Irvin Rivera would borrow his friend’s camera back then, take photos of his favorite subjects, edit them in a computer shop, and try to learn more techniques every day, thanks to the help of the internet.
After college, he worked as a graphic designer for an events company, before going to United States to work as a caregiver, an assistant accountant, and an office manager.
The rising Filipino photographer then decided to go full time as a professional fashion and portrait photographer four years ago and for him, there’s no turning back.
”It takes a lot of conscious effort to decide if you want to pursue something full time,” he said. “As soon as I quit my day job, I know that it will never be an easy road. It requires dedication, time, and constant hustling. It is a commitment.”
Irvin knows that the industry he entered is not a walk in the park. Noting that there are days when he was faced with shortage of resource, people who will undermine his craft, and rejections on projects, he stressed that these “walls of negativity but they are all just challenges.”
On insecurities which are bound to get in the way eventually, this man handles them head on.
“It takes a lot of will and honesty to confront yourself about whatever issues you may have,” he said. “For me, it’s about being really honest to your core, breaking down, letting go, and then picking yourself back up again into pieces.”
On being a photographer to the stars
Today, Irvin Rivera is one of the fast-rising photographers in Los Angeles, working with various Hollywood personalities for magazine covers. His inspiration comes from his dad, filmmaker Wong Kar Wai, Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour, and fashion photographer Tim Walker.
He has worked with Kobe Bryant, Jojo, Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), Ariel Winter (Modern Family), Lucy Lawless (Xena the Warrior Princess, Ash vs the Evil Dead), Grace Gealy (Empire), Jabbawockeez, Caity Lotz (Legends of Tomorrow), Sofia Richie, and more.
Irvin underscored that working with a subject means he always try to “fall in love with them.”
“They are inspiring, and mostly nice people,” he noted. “I love when you meet someone and you discover that they are human as the rest of us are.”
While working with them is all honors for Irvin, his most favorite subject is Kobe Bryant.
He said, “That was one of my quickest shoot ever. Also he is very intimidating, but really nice.”
As with Ariel Winter, the “Modern Family” actress whom he shoot for Rogue, working with the young star was all a breeze.
He said that the girl is full of positive energy, and even comparing the shoot as eating his favorite ice cream flavor—an enjoyable experience, that is.
“She is enthusiastic and highly collaborative on set. She really is one of the sweetest and smart girls that I’ve photographed,” Irvin said.
While Ariel Winter has received negative comments about her being to revealing at such a young age, the photographer noted that the girl’s confidence is what sets her apart from other people.
“At such a young age, you can feel the level of confidence that she exudes. There is a sense of security and power in there,” he added.
With his professional work as a photographer, his career has took him to different places and meet people who helped him reach greater heights.
He had also won several photography awards and has been part of exhibitions in U.S and in other countries.
He had also launched his own magazine, www.abookof.us as well as a charity portrait project called – Portraits of Hope (www.portraitsofhopeproject.com).
Of all these accomplishments, Irvin Rivera says that the most important was, “I was able to make my family proud.”
Hollywood is a masquerade ball
While his career continues to skyrocket, Irvin Rivera has learned that being in the entertainment industry, especially in Hollywood, can be compared with dancing on a masquerade ball.
“Everyone wears different clothes,” he said. “Everyone projects something. Some people dance better than others. Some people stand out, and some people get shoved out of the dance floor by more aggressive dances. If you can’t dance, you gotta find a way to learn the steps quick. If you can’t dance quite as well as the others, find a very good partner and let that partner guide you. This industry is about how you dance gracefully amidst the sea of masks. “
Here are some of Irvin Rivera’s photos: