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Story by Taylor Strickland • Photo by Joshua Jacobs
Photographer Reps NYC in Fashion & Attitude
Photographer Reps NYC in Fashion & Attitude
Digital artist and aspiring technology engineer Ricardo “Ricky” Pinnock is what is colloquially known as a “zoomer,” part of the demographic succeeding the notorious Millennials and the first generation to have access to the internet over the course of their entire lives.
“My childhood was very influenced by technology,” explains Ricky. “Even though I walk on earth, a lot of my life is spent online.”
Ricky was born in New York City, but a desire for a safe learning environment led his parents to the Sunshine State in the early 2000s. “We moved to Broward County, Florida, and I went to the elementary school there for a while. We moved back up to New York City to the Bronx.” He crosses his fingers and smiles. “I rep the Bronx very hard. I lived there from 2009 to getting away to college.”
For Ricky, representing his home city is as much about style as it is attitude. “I feel being urban, like wearing a pair of Timberland’s, is very connected to my fashion sense, because I saw it so much growing up. Even if I experiment wearing something else, because it’s so tied to me at my core, it’s one of my youngest and earliest references. I’m never not going to be some part urban in how I dress.”
“During my adolescence in New York, I was into a lot of TV,” says Ricky. A consummate iPad kid, Ricky received his first unrestricted gateway into the internet at the tender age of 10. “I’m very thankful to my parents that they did that.”
Among the many shows Ricky watched, those about fashion and identity intrigued him the most. “America’s Next Top Model is the oldest. That’s something I started absorbing when I was 4.”
As a child, Ricky was mostly occupied by the striking poses and fierce catwalks, but being a photographer has given him new perspective. “I can see when a person is fresh to being in front of the camera, and I try to get them used to being the center of attention. I do a lot of verbal affirmations when taking pictures to get folks more comfortable and make sure they’re feeling confident.”
Encouraging models to feel good about themselves is one of Ricky’s greatest joys. “People don’t see themselves as others do. I feel like there is a concept of beauty we’re fed, and if people don’t see themselves in that, they come in with the mentality that they don’t feel beautiful.”
In his role as a fashion photographer in the Ocala area, Ricky tries to shatter any self-consciousness his subjects may have as soon as possible, but acknowledges that process is often difficult to navigate. “My best pictures come in the last twenty minutes of a shoot,” he claims. “That’s when those negative assumptions about themselves fully melt.”
Like many children of the third millennium, Ricky often struggles to bridge the gap between himself and his older parents. “They were born in Jamaica and became naturalized citizens in the 80s and 90s. My older sisters were born there as well.
“I’ve been trying to share more of my successes with them,” Ricky laments. “I want to figure out ways to include them in my process.” It’s a difficult endeavor, as generational differences create a difference in understanding that often feels insurmountable. This was especially true when Ricky applied to college.
“Being first gen and applying to college in the U.S. is difficult,” he admits. “They were trying to support me the best they could, but there are parts of the process that they just didn’t experience growing up in Jamaica, so I felt like I was learning a lot and under pressure to execute it.”
Ricky double majored in African Studies and Communications at Davidson College in North Carolina. “I learned to think critically. It may not have been the most easily applied, but it’s intentionally interdisciplinary and focuses on people of African descent. It’s a reflection of how I see the world.”
Though photography will always be Ricky’s passion, he’s not willing to relegate himself to just one path. “Life comes at you very fast, and each challenge is as impactful as the next one,” he states. “I’m trying to advance myself in multiple fields at the same time. Learning how to organize those things is a skill that came out of figuring out how I wanted to distinguish myself. I work in a shoe store at the moment, and I’m trying to go into tech, while also finding the time to still be creative.
“I want to experiment more in studios and use that space to finally define my style,” Ricky shares. “I can eventually translate that to celebrity photography and full-on campaigns and all that.”
Ricky is thinks he will eventually find his way back to New York. “I’m very happy I’m a child of New York and feel I have the New York mentality to how I attack the world and look at things. I want to take that mentality and start networks elsewhere, and then return to New York when I fully arise.”
Watch the full interview on YouTube. It airs April 14, 2023.
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