We had the good fortune of connecting with Rickey Montena and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rickey, have you ever found yourself in a spot where you had to decide whether to give up or keep going? How did you make the choice?
I recently went through this stage. I wanted to give up because of my depression, I kept comparing myself to others which is the WORST thing to do. I stop doing photography for almost a year and even sold my camera. I kept having dreams and every time I would go somewhere I would think about shooting especially at a beautiful scenery. I would see beautiful people and would want to take their photos. I then realize I sleep, breathe, cry photography. Its something that will never go away. That’s when I realized I can’t give up. I have a gift.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think what set me apart is my creative thinking. I tend to sit back relax and think about how I can elevate myself and set myself apart from everyone else. I like to take risk in my photography and go that extra mile. Sometimes I’m in the pool or mud. Sometimes I’m upside down or have to hold the camera at a weird angle just to get that shot. My most proudest moment is when people come up to me and they say “I’ve seen your work and its good” For strangers to come up and know who I worked with and they tell me they have seen my work. I sometimes want to cry. Tears of joy of course. Well, like I said with the help of my boss Beau, shooting my good friend Anthony, and the support of my 2 best friends David and James. It was the perfect combination. Reaching success is never easy. You will have hurdles so freaking big you will look at it and the first thing that will come to mind is “How am I going to do this” There are days where you will fail. Its all about learning and adapting the next time you attempt at it. One big lesson I learned along the way is not to burn bridges with anyone. I’ve seen so much stuff behind the scene it sometimes scare me. I have been fortunate to keep my connection and still get work but one thing i learn about this industry is that once that bridge is burned. There is no rebuilding. I want the world to know that this story is to encourage and help those who struggle with depression and don’t know who to trust or just don’t know what to do. Look at me I only had 4 people in my life to help me get to where I am. Its not a lot of people but its 4 people who believe, trusted and wanted to see me win. Surround yourself with people who wants to see you win. Cause at the end those are the people who will be cheering for you at the finish line.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I love love love Trinity Grove. Its right outside of Downtown Dallas. They have ALL my favorite restaurants. They have this amazing bridge you can walk down take amazing pictures and just enjoy the city. My favorite restaurant there is called “AMBERJAX” if you love seafood that spot is it. The lobster mac n cheese in to die for. I recently started doing yoga in bishop arts. Its a studio called “Black Swan Yoga” My new friend Kevin is a instructor there. I never thought that I would be doing yoga but I freaking love it. After a long day of working and you just wanna clear your mind I always go there and Kevin is an amazing teacher. Also in Bishop arts its full of restaurants and bars so after yoga you can go get a glass of wine.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Where do I begin!!!! There are some individuals I would like to thank. First my boss at the time “Beau Bumpas” He hired me as a intern to be a talent scout. I watched that man take some of the most amazing photos. He took photos of me once and to be honest I was so scared. He took photos of girls from Americas next top model so to be in front of his lens was major. He showed me the scene behind the camera and that’s where the spark of photography entered my body. Thanks Beau for planting that seed. Hope I made you proud. Also my good friend Anthony Garrett. I discovered him at a mall. He had an amazing look and I knew i had to sign him to the agency. A few years later he is in magazines, travelling the world, being featured in GQ. He is a very successful model. He came home to visit and I asked him if I can do a photoshoot with him. Remind you i haven’t done a professional shoot with anyone at this point. I was so nervous because this is a professional model and I am a rookie photographer. After the shoot i edited all day and night cause I wanted them to be perfect. I sent the photos back to Anthony and he loved every single one. After he posted one on his Instagram I never in my life seen how people reacted to them. The love and people sending me messages about how amazing it is was just something I never felt before. Because of that shoot I had customers flowing in and agency’s contacted me to do photoshoots for them. Never would I thought one photoshoot would change my life. Thank you Anthony hope I made you proud too. Last but not least my 2 best friends. David/James I had the pleasure of taking both of their photos and these 2 guys are just the missing pieces to my uncomplete life. I never thought bestfriends existed until i met these 2. So supportive, so caring and loving. The only 2 people who really pushes me. Honestly if it wasn’t for these 2 I don’t know if I would even still continue shooting. After working them I realize that this is what I’m supposed to do. I’m personally proud of both of them. David lost over 80 pounds and is perusing modeling and acting and James is one of the most talented rappers I personally know. I hope I made the both of them proud. I’m sure I did

Instagram: Rickey_Montena
Facebook: Rickey Montena

Image Credits
Model: David Galahity

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