We recently spoke with Riley, one of our most passionate ambassadors. His story is an inspiring journey of struggle and resilience. Here's what he had to say:
"I am The Life of Riley Photography (@lifeofriley_pnw) and my true north are the roads less traveled. I receive an incredible emotional, spiritual, and physical renewal when I am in nature, and even more so when I am behind the lens. To cope with my depression, I hike all over the Northwest mountainscapes. Back in 2010, I started shooting with my iPhone 4. What started as a simple pleasure of capturing inspiring natural scenes quickly turned into a life-long passion. I continued to pick up the camera to keep my depression and past addiction at bay. Recently it has felt so natural to look through my Sony A7rIII lens, and when I’m out in the backcountry shooting, I feel alive and at peace.
When Covid hit, along with many others, I lost all my hours of work. Rather than get sucked back into darkness, I poured my positive energy into photography to explore and refine my craft. I joined a community of portrait shooters to learn more about capturing people and things. The natural progression was clear to blend my love of the outdoors with portraits, hence my new mission was to master environmental portraits and products in their natural environment.
Instead of dwelling on the pandemic, I started hustling 24/7 on photography and shooting for companies like ALPAKA. There is a special place in my heart for ALPAKA. They helped launch my career in adventure product photography to inspire a stunning portfolio. I’m so excited to shoot for a brand that makes such quality products with stellar craftsmanship. I’ve always struggled to stay organized and the ALPAKA messenger/sling bags and their mods have created a way for me to keep track of all my essentials. It elevated my photography game--and my peace of mind.
I am celebrating just over 2 years of sobriety and I couldn’t have done it without my photography community, shooting as much as possible, and great companies like this one who chose to invest in me."
It's always inspiring and motivating for us to hear stories of resilience like Riley's. Keep moving forward.