Tell Me About Yourself
Artwork by Cecilia Palacios
"The Local Boy"
Interviewed and Written by Natalia Moryns Rivas
Weston Rich is a Milwaukee based photographer with an eye for fashion, which is made evident in his work. Quiet at first glance, Wes is seemingly somber but once you poke through the surface his humble wallflower persona begins to spill. Wes lives by the notion of never allowing yourself to lose an opportunity to the voice of fear that lingers in the background. A man who likes to take the normalcy out of his narrative and give it his own creative spin. So who and what makes Wes, Weston Rich?
NMR: When someone asks, “Who is Wes, who are you, how do you identify?” What comes to mind?
WR: I'm just a normal person. I like to document things, be behind the scenes. Kind of like a wallflower. I like to see things around me, observe. I'm definitely not the loudest person in the room. That's why for me photography is such s good thing because you don't have to be super involved.
A natural born creative with a drive to bring the new into society. Wes thrives off of being able to take his thoughts from a cerebral place to reality.
WR: Creating new shit gives me life. When I can think of an idea and see it be executed, that's super dope. To me it's crazy to see my concepts become real, be fulfilled. It's awesome.
NMR: What made you initially pick up a camera?
WR: When I started working with my brand “Among the Prime” we were hiring photographers at the time. I thought, “I can definitely pick up this camera and take these product shots myself.” With ATP starting up, we started to meet local artists and eventually going to shows. There wasn't really anyone out there taking photos of this happening. Making friends with the artists and taking product shots, concert photos, it just grew from there. Now I'm working with stores, taking their product shots. I've gone on tour and taken concert photos. I've been all over the states. It's dope to have an idea and watch it grow.
NMR: How did it feel the first time you put your eye to a lens?
WR: Oh man...LOST. I had no idea what I was doing for the longest time. Probably for the first year I was just winging it. Just taking photos and winging it. Watching YouTube videos, studying other photographers over the years who have inspired me, figuring out how I'm going to do that. It really pushed my creativity. For sure. It made me feel like I was reinventing the wheel. There are things that I've seen and put my own spin on them.
NMR: Outside of your family, who is your biggest inspiration? Talking creativity, who made you feel like you could do it, make it happen?
WR: I've never been too inspired by a ton aside from a couple of fashion photographers. Tommy Ton, who is always at fashion week, was one of the first photographers I followed. When I started doing product shots and shooting clothing on people, he was someone who inspired me.
In the last couple of years I've been really inspired by Basquiat more so. Somebody who was against the norm. Back in the 80’s it was crazy for someone like Basquiat to go against the norm. Even today he's still killing it. He's got the most expensive painting ever sold in the U.S. and everybody doubted him. For the longest, no one wanted to see him prosper. He was just a creator. He drew on doors, really anything he could get his hands on. His creativity knew no bounds.
NMR: Speaking on inspiration, what is one of your favorite quotes and why?
WR: “The excuses will always be there for you, the opportunity won't.”
It's self explanatory. You can wake up everyday and put something off but there's gonna be one day when you wake up and the opportunity isn't there anymore. If you don't go out and get it you never know. I would hate knowing I can do something and seeing someone else who has the same capability make me second guess myself. So I fall back and miss out on the opportunity then hate myself for it later, for never even trying. I like having an open mind towards things. Like, “Alright, the opportunity is there, go with it. R U N.” because you never know what's going to happen next.
NMR: If you had 30 seconds to send the world a message, what would you say?
WR: Just live. Do you what makes you happy and try to do it at the highest capability that you can. If you really like doing something then run with it. Don't ever hold yourself back or have doubts because you have one life to live. Once you let self doubt in, it starts closing doors before they have even opened. Not so much go with the flow but follow your own flow.