For those who don't know me, my name is Alicia Rivera, and I am the heart and soul behind Alicia Rivera Photography. I just want to start out by saying that I'm not the biggest fan of generic introductions. The truth is, I'd rather tell you about the things that ignite my soul than to talk about where I grew up, where I went to school, and what my favorite TV show is...
(SHOUT OUT TO ALL MY FELLOW INTROVERTS OUT THERE!!)
But for those of you who are curious... I was born and raised here in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. I recently graduated with my bachelors degree in art from Millersville University in May of 2019. AND, my favorite TV show is probably New Girl (no shame). Fun fact - my husband actually quoted New Girl in his vows and I loved him that much more for it!
Now that that's out of the way... how DID I get started as a photographer? Or better yet - how did I get started as an artist?
Growing up, I always wanted to be an artist - just like every other kid in my class at some point or another. But somehow, I always knew I'd be different. I knew this was the life I wanted even before I really KNEW. Most of the stories you hear revolve around a person who started out in med school, or started out as a business major, and realized they really weren't about that life. That wasn't me. I made my seven year old self proud when I applied to Millersville's art program in 2010. My parents... not so much. But here I am, nearly ten years later, still pursuing the same damn dream I had when I was seven.
While I knew the road would be rough, I also knew the road would be worth it. And to be completely honest, there is nothing in this world that I would rather do than photography. It's hard to explain, but documenting people's memories, capturing the love between two people, and exposing the beauty that exists in each and every one of us ignites my soul in ways that I never thought were possible. Photography brings to life a side of me that not many people get to see.
Another fun fact for you all - I absolutely hated photography when I started college. I was actually a painting major for the first year and a half of my college career. After the first two years or so, I took a few leaves of absences... Let's just say I had a lot of setbacks when I was in college - a lot of decisions that I didn't want to make, a lot of indecision on whether or not I was really following the right path, and a shit ton of self discovery. Ironically, my time away from college is when my photography really started to flourish.
In 2011, I attended my first airsoft walk on day at Ambush Adventure Park in Conestoga, PA. Like any other young and dumb girl, I agreed to photograph the event because a boy asked me to. Well, let's just say I'm insanely grateful for my young and dumb 20 year old self, because that day changed my life - and that's not an exaggeration. That day, I fell in love with photography, and airsoft. And nearly one year later, I would go on to meet the boy that would become my husband...
Now here I am, nearly eight years later, and my life has completely changed for the better. While I'm still working my ass off chasing this crazy dream of mine, I can look back and say that I've lived an incredible life because I never gave up on that dream. My airsoft photography alone has taken me to so many incredible places, and there are so many events I still have yet to attend. I have created so many memories through airsoft, and gained not only a following of amazing people, but a family of close friends that I am so insanely grateful for. They honestly have no idea.
Aside from airsoft, I have had the privilege of photographing so many adorable couples, so many beautiful and unique individuals, and some truly breathtaking places. Photography has given me so much more of an appreciation for this life we live, and the experiences that make this life worth living. I can't wait to see where the next eight years take me, but I know that as long as I'm still chasing this crazy dream of mine, they will be nothing short of amazing.
My story up until this point has been filled with so many ups and downs, but if there's anything you take away from it, it's the fact that I have never given up, regardless of ANY adversities I have faced. And, I've stayed 100% true to myself in the process, despite how many times I've wanted to take the path of least resistance. The reality of it is - I'm no where near where I'd like to be, but I have come SO far, and I'm not stopping until I achieve my lifelong dream. Gonna make seven year old Alicia very proud someday.