Editor’s note: It took me a year of working retail with Marissa Ricci before I knew she was a photographer. It wasn’t a topic she brought up or even hinted interest. At least not to me. We work for a major sports brand so I knew she was a fan of the Miami Heat. We shared all the childhood experiences that come with growing up “Up North” and New York City being constantly in your rearview mirror. That was all I knew about her until we started following each other on Instagram. Some people have pretty good iPhone shots on their Instagrams. Marissa’s photos were more than just luck of the right light at the right time. I felt like I was standing in the photos myself and Marissa was capturing my moment of remembrance for me. I mean, I take some okay cat photos sometimes but Marissa was posting portraits of her friends that captured their essence in such a way you didn’t have to know who they were to see a part of them. She was finding angles of buildings I’ve passed a million times but had never noticed the elegance she presented. Sometimes these photos went away from Marissa’s account. The deliberate choosing of which art the public was allowed to see and for how long made the artist in me recognize the artist in her. I started talking to Marissa about her work and, for lack of better terms, she came alive. I knew her work had to be shared here on The Well Written Woman. I hope you enjoy the vibrance in Marissa’s photos and the interview below. – Lauren
Tell us what kind of camera you use. Why this camera? Do you have any essential equipment/accessories you take with you to shoot?
I am currently using a Canon Rebel T6i. I chose this camera mainly because it belongs to the same family of the first camera I started with which was the Canon Rebel XSi. I became comfortable with the series and the T6i was the newest one. I always carry my 50 mm lens along with my 18-55 mm.
What inspires you? I noticed so much variety in your work. You’ve captured impressive buildings, portraits, small objects, overwhelming greenery, and stark minimalism. Does inspiration come with the subjects?
Not to sound cliché, but everything inspires me. There truly is beauty in everything, you just have to pay attention. So yes, I guess you could say that inspiration comes with the subjects.
As a writer, I know there are times when I just can’t find the right words or the mood to create a piece with which I feel satisfied. When taking pictures, how do you deal with feeling blocked but still capturing a moment?
I actually find comfort in being blocked but still capturing a moment. I don’t think photography, or art for that instance, needs an explanation. As long as there’s feeling while viewing my photos, I know I’ve done my job.
I’ve seen you state in the past you don’t want to be called a photographer. Why not? What would you call yourself?
To me, the word photographer is a basic term. It’s much deeper than that. I do not want to be known as a “photographer” who only takes portraits and directs people how to pose or takes pictures of things that are very evident to the average person. Yes, there are photographers out there who fit that description and that’s perfectly fine but that’s not how I want to be perceived. I want to be known for making something out of nothing. I want people to view my work and be surprised I noticed the subject, whatever it may be, could even be classified as art. In that case, I would call myself a creator.
When editing, do you have any favorite apps or software? Just by looking through some of the mobile catalogs, it looks like certain apps cater towards certain style.
I usually edit my photos through VSCO. There are so many tones that are capable of bringing a picture to life it sometimes makes it difficult to pick one.
There are so many different online communities for posting photography. Do you find greater response on a more general platform like Instagram or a more specific niche like VSCO Cam? Do you ever tailor your work to fit these communities?
Instagram for sure, simply because the majority of people have one. Unfortunately, it’s such a powerful tool that is misused. I do not tailor my work for Instagram to fit the community. My work is my work and if people like it, that’s awesome and I greatly appreciate the love and support. But if they don’t that’s okay, too. I take advantage of the fact that you can reach/affect so many people in such a positive manner through an app.
Which photographers influence you?
Photographers in general influence me.
From the pictures you’ve sent us,which is your favorite and why?
I’d have to go with the picture I took in the kitchen supplies section in Bealls Outlet. The lighting and window set up was somehow attractive to me. I’m a big fan of contrasting light and dark and that picture depicted my vision perfectly.
How do you think photography can be used to further the development of the female perspective? Do you find any issues with the art form exploiting or not exploiting gender specific ideals?
That’s another reason why I love this style of art so much. It pushes away from generalizing genders. Different people have different views so photography has the ability to help us understand each other’s perspectives without actually saying anything.
Lastly, my favorite question, do you have any advice and encouragement for anyone beginning in photography?
Bring your camera with you wherever you go. You never know what you’re going to see.
You can view more of Marissa’s photography and follow along on her Instagram.
Marissa Ricci: 19 year old creative enthusiast from Dobbs Ferry, New York. Photography, along with night walks, avocados, and museums are some of the things she’s passionate about. When Marissa grows up, she aspires to be a selfless human being who merely spreads love and positivity.