Richelle Hunter truly embodies the phrase beautiful from the inside out. A lovely, thoughtful and generous person Richelle is profoundly aware of the beauty that exists in each of us and willingly shares that awareness through her life’s work: photography. Richelle’s images capture Life at its most wondrous; love at its most enchanting and family and friends at their most tender. She sees endless wonder in the everyday and breathtaking beauty in the world as a whole.
Richelle trusted the calling of her soul and, as a result, found a perfect way to live her vision. All of us who are able to witness Richelle bringforth can count ourselves among the truly fortunate.
And here we go! We begin with the classic bringforth question: what drives you? So, if you had to put into words what pushes you to do what you do and experience what you experience—how would you describe it?
Pretty things drive me. The world is an endlessly beautiful place…and it’s details that inspire me. 🙂 Be it a lost grandmother’s brooch on a bride’s bouquet, inspirational graffiti, or an extra squeeze from a mom to a son…I notice. What pushes me is my own gained inability to not capture that beauty…I have to freeze these moments! I swear I see the world in photographs now…
Do you feel you are living your life’s purpose? Is that purpose ever-evolving?
I do! 100%. This is just the beginning for me – my purpose and my business are both moving in a direction that I’m so excited to explore!
What is it that allows you to know exactly what you are to be doing at any given moment in your life?
Like I said, I see the world in photographs. I feel like I have a heightened sense of details now, so my everyday life is an affirmation that what I’m pursuing makes me happiest – because it’s simply the way I see the my life!
Tell us more about your photography and your ethos. That is, what is the philosophy behind your work and how does it infuse what you do whether it is your photography or your writing?
I have always been a people person. I thrive off of other’s energy and just love having the job of documenting other people in honest moments. As a background, I have grown up in a big family of two happily married parents and I am the second youngest of six kids. This is a big family for this day and age and I will forever be in awe of my amazing parents for fostering each of our unique dreams and letting us know we were so very loved. From this, I feel so appreciative every time I get to know new honest, loving relationships…so I want to in turn, give a snapshot of that love because it’s so familiar to me.
What was your process for coming to marry what you love with what you do each day?
I didn’t know I wanted to be a photographer. I am a scholar, so I loved school and my Honours Double Major…I expected to continue with grad school. However, as life goes, my brother is a Video Game Producer and has always been technologically savvy and introduced me to a DSLR camera. I started shooting and teaching myself Photoshop and the next thing I knew, my heart was wholly in the arts. I have always told myself I wanted to do something that I would be happy doing every single day – with my business, everyday and every couple is so different! So one brave day, I decided (with the loving push of my boyfriend) to put faith into my business and go full time.
When in your life have you been most afraid or filled with self-doubt and what did you do to overcome it?
Self doubt was my middle name when I graduated. I worked at a bank and had no idea what my next move was. I knew that one day I would look back on this time and reflect on this phase, but my inability to pinpoint where my heart was made me so scared of the future. I had a hard time trusting that things would fall into place. A lot of incredible people in my life encouraged me and recommended me to now clients – and I truly wouldn’t be as happy as I am now if they hadn’t been so wonderful.
How would you advise others to push past fear and embrace their wholeness? What helps you to embrace yours?
Think about the alternative. This is what I tell myself. On days that I get scared or disheartened about owning my own business, I think to myself – what is the alternative. The alternative for me would be having a boss, always wondering if I could have been successful or worst of all, settling. The idea of settling on something less than what you want or what makes you happy is silly to me – if you rob yourself of your own potential, you become your own worst enemy. Be an inspiration to yourself and refocus your energy on your strengths and potential.
Who or what are your greatest sources of inspiration – what makes your heart sing?
Oh, I’m so lame. But whole-heartedly, when I get a couple that is downright in love in front of me and I have a camera in hand, I am so inspired. They make me love what I do. I am also super inspired by marketing and business advisors ~ I am forever learning the “business side” of things as it can be so challenging, so I love learning from TED talks and reading biographies of successful entrepreneurs.
When do you most profoundly experience joy?
What an awesome question. I would absolutely say that my boyfriend, Eric Frank, who is starting his own videography business, makes me the happiest girl. He is the most encouraging and optimistic person I know. We both dream big, and he doesn’t make me apologize for reaching for the stars. I have a lot of excitement bottled up inside me at all times (lol), and he somehow is always on the exact same page as me. 🙂
What does beauty mean to you?
Beauty is in the small things. A blurry snapshot of the private kiss a bride and groom steal after the ceremony means more to me than a perfectly exposed and composed image of a reception. It’s honest and it’s real. I am oh-so lucky – I get to be part of the best day of people’s lives. The entire day is a celebration…a party of “Someone’s” favourite people. I cry at every single wedding I go to, even if I’m meeting the couple for the first time. I can’t help it ~ I’m forever going to be so moved by the commitment of two people to each other!
What would you say are some of the best ways to inspire, educate and ignite the spark, the possibility and the life force that exists in all people?
Exploration. I did a lot of traveling before I came to decide what and who I wanted to be. I was lucky enough to meet so many wonderful people and gain a lot of experience. Traveling also made me realize that the world is so much bigger than the place you grew up in. My heart is with my family at all times. But we could be anywhere in the world and be happy. I think seeing more than your corner of the world is important because it’s a time to realize that the possibilities are endless. I also think if you’re in school, take a moment to breathe before moving into the “next step”. I would also suggest reading a lot, watching tutorials online, shadowing other people in their careers, if even to simply cross it off the list. So many people get “stuck”, so I think taking the time to really and truly evaluate what makes you happy will pave an amazing journey for you.
What is next for you?
Oh me, oh my. I have a summer full of weddings that I am so excited for, but I have been in talks with the likes of Lululemon to potentially do some editorial work for them as well as some other fun editorial work. I am also hoping to open a studio to give options for my business and for couples – living in Canada with long winters shortens the wedding season, so I’m excited to cultivate a business that can thrive and offer something ‘different’. 🙂 And ultimately, I’m excited to grow my photography business into a shared unit with Eric and videography. The sky is the limit I guess!
Thank you Richelle! This interview has been a privilege. If you would like to see more of Richelle’s gorgeous work visit her website at: www.richellehunter.com. You can also follow her on twitter @RichelleHunter.