Richard Fusillo

Richard Fusillo

Father, Photographer, Professional Troublemaker

Richard Fusillo is originally from LA, but found out the city life wasn’t for him – so in 2004 he packed up his bags and moved to California’s Central Coast. The beautiful landscapes, being right next to Highway One and the people hooked him right away. He’s a father to two: one is a little human (Oliver), and one is a border collie (Zooey). A freelance photographer, he also works in the photo department at the local community college. A master of mood and light with an eclectic portfolio, Richard is happiest when he doesn’t know what’s coming next.

You seem equally at home with urban, landscape, lifestyle and abstract photography. How would you describe your style/aesthetic? Starting off with the hard question right off the bat! Haha. Well, normally when someone asks me this question I say "raw". But what does that even mean... I don't know anymore. My style translates, to me, both my specific worldview and whatever effect the subject of the photo has on me; it shows those two elements. A lot of people call me an editorial photographer that blends those elements to create a style that is gritty, real, and timeless. Your portraits always seem to exude the vulnerability and strength of your subjects – would you attribute that more to a specific creative process, relationships, or some combination of the two? Usually when I photograph a subject such as a person or model, I attempt to talk to them or meet them in person before photographing them. I want to know their passions, stories and even their struggles. I think this is an important step when photographing someone. When you get someone to hopefully trust you, walls break and we (me and the subjects) are more comfortable. It is a part of my creative process to create relationships with whomever I’m shooting, whether it’s clients, models, brands, or even strangers.

When you switch gears from one style or subject to another, does your approach or mindset change? My mindset is different yes. When I'm out in nature my mood is mellow, and I'm out there honestly for myself. My approach is looking for where light hits the landscape, timing is very important and patience is key. Landscape photography is sort of a meditative experience. When I'm shooting a model, the approach is more direct. There are usually a couple hours of time, the light can be modified or at least adjusted, and I'm dealing with an actual human (which changes everything). When you aren't alone, you have to think not only for yourself, but also the other person(s) involved. I feel each genre of photography is approached differently in some form. 

Out of your recent projects, which is your favorite and why? Your most challenging? One of my favorite projects that is ongoing is my “Encounter” series – highlighting people and their workspaces in either creative, hobbyist, everyday or professional settings. It is a project I started years ago, but it sort of got lost in the back of my mind; I only recently rediscovered it last year and started over completely. I love it. I get to meet unique people, go into their spaces and hear their stories. It's a win win situation. It’s also my most challenging series. Sometimes going into people's spaces can be personal, so getting them to open those doors and let me photograph them in their element is a challenge in and of itself. Also, since I am shooting these series very minimalist (tech-wise), sometimes the light isn't always the best, or the spaces are small/awkward so I have to adjust or shoot on the fly a lot – but that just makes it all the more rewarding when you see the finished product.