Published on July 31st, 2012 | by Aeris0
PHOTOGRAPHER PROFILES: THE STUDENT
Meet Nikky Richardson — a young photography student who left Virginia, US to pursue her passion for photography at SCAD in Hong Kong.
Where are you from?
I was born in Brooklyn in New York, but moved to Virginia when I was 6. It’s about a 15-minute drive from D.C. (Washington). I really miss my family and my hometown, but Hong Kong and Asia are so exciting and there are more opportunities to learn about the art of photography here.
When did you realise that photography was your calling?
I knew I wanted to be a photographer since I was 13 and saw a Mac commercial on my sister’s fridge. It mesmerised me. You know how people stare at the back of cereal boxes while they’re eating cereal sometimes? I stared at that commercial like the back of a cereal box everyday. I still remember every part of that image — its forever in my mind.
“My campus security guard is the sweetest guy, he always helps me. This time I played with face masks. He said the mask made him feel like superman!”
That’s impressive that you knew what you wanted to do since 13!
I don’t get people who say they don’t know what they want to do. If you listen to yourself, the answer is almost always clear. Sometimes there are pressures or expectations that make it harder to listen to yourself – I’ve seen people get confused about that.
Especially with family. Were your family supportive?
They were always really supportive. They just wanted me to be happy and be good at something. They were glad I had an interest and pursued it I guess. I’m lucky, my mom is also my best friend. I know how lucky I am to have that.
Do your Chinese classmates get the same support from home?
Some do, but a lot of them really have to fight to be there. They have to convince their parents there is something they can get out of Arts College besides drawing and taking pictures — a career. And they are so good. All of them can draw.
“Rachael Richards was my artist of influence here. She superimposes magazine cutouts into real environments. I’m not that good with computers, so this was manual photoshop for me — cutting out pictures and putting them into the scene itself, arts and crafts style. My favourite is the camera ‘drop’. I wanted it to look like a crime scene.”
How did you nurture your passion?
I just kept taking pictures. When I got older, I took pictures for my sister’s media classes. After I left school myself, I couldn’t find any interesting enough photography courses in New York or London so I said, “I’m coming to Hong Kong!”
What do you miss most about home?
Not getting stares in the street! I also miss yellow raspberries. You don’t find them here, but you get them in Virginia. I don’t miss America as much as I miss my family. I wish I could take them everywhere with me in a suitcase! I have a nephew as of 6 days ago and I can’t wait to meet him. My family and I are so close it’s crazy! I don’t know how I made it over here.
“I love taking pictures of objects just as much as places or people. I took these for Aroxta Boutique. I love the ‘evil eye’ bracelet — it’s so pretty. And I love the purple ring — the designer’s contrast of the rough cord with the smooth pearl is so clever.”
Did you experience any culture shock when you came?
The smell of dried fish hit me in Hong Kong — I also realised pretty soon that people do not dress the same here! In the States people wear sweats everywhere. No one makes an effort. Here, I have to be primped and prepped at all times before I leave the house [laughs]. Other than that, no shocks. I love it here. (END)
Nikky’s Top 3 Photography Tips:
1.Know the moment, and how to capture it. You don’t have to know the person you’re photographing, you just need to have a connection with them on some level, even if its seconds.
2.Take your time to sculpt your craft — rushing does not help anyone. Take your time, think about it and then form an opinion. Your opinion is the only one that matters — unless it’s commercial!
3.Carry a camera with you everywhere — and take a new photo at least once a day. You never know what you’ll find when you look back.