I’m Riley, the face behind this special biz. At my core I'm a storyteller, an explorer, a lover of many things. In my short life, I’ve lived in 15 cities and six countries - you and I might have already crossed paths! My journey has been vast and continuous; and through it I have learned that the best way to hold on to special, fleeting moments is to cherish them, love them, photograph them.
Through my transient life, I've encountered so many incredible women - many of them have been resistant to appreciating their own beauty; the very beauty I see and love. In an effort to disclose my perspective, I've made it my mission to capture an elusive glance, a contagious laugh, warm eyes or wild hair with the instrument I hold dear, my camera.
I am certain that it is my duty to aid others in seeing their own worth through my talents. I realize this is a challenge; I would take on no other kind of role. I believe women are like stars, all sparkling, all magical; if only we would recognize them...
My passion for life can’t be contained. I’m here to share it with you.
...and you! ...and you! ...and you!
I’ve been a professional photographer for 6 years but I haven’t always known what to photograph. It’s hard to say 'no' when ‘yes’ pays the bills. I’ve shot everything from weddings to editorials, food to bikes, babies, brothers, athletes, dancers. Eventually, I got to a point where I felt like my artistic voice was getting drowned in imagery. I wasn’t truly creating if everything I did was driven by inquiry. I decided it was time to get real or move on. I was hard on myself - sitting in introspection, demanding answers. The topic came up in every conversation. What. Do. I. Do. How do I make this thing, that everyone does, mine? The answers weren’t there. For months, I was foggy and frustrated, unable to find resolve.
Then, one day day on a whim, I sifted through my hard drives, reminiscing on old work. I noticed a trend. I had photographed so many women - some clients, some friends, my sister and most notably...my mom. My mom who, despite trauma, has thrived. Yet, like many women, she doesn’t know just how powerful she is. I am always telling her, ‘Mommy, you are a real life goddess.’ I photograph her to remind her of what I see, hoping one day she’ll see it too. I thought about how I’d given her a canvas album one Christmas filled with pictures I’d taken of her; underneath each image I had written a sentiment describing her grace, her strength, her wisdom. I remember watching her flip through the album. She had tears in her eyes and I could tell, even if just for a glimpse, that she saw it - her beautiful essence translated by me.
I thought, maybe I could do that with all women; use my camera to make them feel better. Maybe I’d take photography and make it personal, intimate, conversational and compassionate. I’d sit down with women, listen to their past stories and future visions, providing them with inspiration and encouragement. Whether creating content for their brands or images they could reminisce on forever, I’d lead them through the rite of passage they’ve always deserved.
With that the fog cleared. Woke Beauty was born, with my mom as it’s catalyst.