We had the good fortune of connecting with Riley Barkowsky and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Riley, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
I think people are shocked by how much time goes into each project or shoot. It’s not just picking up a camera, doing some color-correcting edits, and sending off a gallery. There’s time that goes into location scouting, concept-building, the actual photoshoot, editing, etc. Every photographer you hire for whatever event is definitely working a full-time job with their creative businesses, and while it’s fun and rewarding work, there’s a lot of it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a student at UNT and I recently started my senior year. Since my last interview with VoyageDallas, my practice has changed quite drastically. I started college with the intention of working with fashion photography and supplementing that with freelance work. Now, I’ve turned more to focus on a fine art career – sending my work to galleries, applying for residencies and for grants, etc. My fine art work has always been based in research and has a tie to social issues we see on a daily basis, such as the climate crisis, sexual assault awareness, mental health, and more. Fully realizing and accepting that I wasn’t happy with the work I was making was a huge challenge, and it slowed me down quite a bit. I slowly stopped accepting freelance work (especially once the pandemic hit) and forced myself to evaluate what aspect of my practice was making me unhappy. I love working with people and I adore capturing their precious moments, but it took me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I simply did not want to do that for the rest of my life. Now, I work with photography, mixed media, sound and video art, and alternative developing processes to build my projects to reflect my practice.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
OH BOY! Since living in Denton, I have found a handful of goodies that I always have to introduce my friends to. Some of my favorite restaurants in the area are Loco Cafe (their Ice Box Coffee is immaculate), Boca 31, Tortilleria La Sabrocita, Oldwest Cafe, Thai Ocha, and Crooked Crust Pizza by campus. Golden Boy Coffee and Jupiter House Coffee are great places to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea. Both Fry Street and the Square are great places for drinks (once it’s safe to do that again). Lastly, some of my favorite shops in the area are Sleeping Lizards, Norman Roscoe, Recycled Books, The Antique Gallery, and The Antique Experience (they’re sister shops! You get two antique malls next door to each other, win-win!).
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Truly, I credit my high school photography teacher, Kenny Fulton, for making me an artist in the first place. He loaded us with incredibly tedious projects that forced us to look at the world differently. I always hated those “26 Things” lists, but they made my path as an artist much simpler and taught me to view the world in an artistic sense at a young age. Hey Mr. Fulton, if you’re reading this, thank you.
Facebook: Riley Barkowsky
Personal Image taken by Kailee Ann Photography