Rivard Report: Many were worried that Luminaria might be cancelled or postponed due to rain – despite the “rain or shine” guarantee. How did it go?

Alex Richter
Alex Richter

Alex Richter: I thought it went really well – it was really crowded and people seemed really excited. Luckily, it didn’t rain until after the event ended!

RR: Luminaria is known for its large artistic installations (visual and performance) that use light, what other offerings does the event have?

Alex: There were dozens of food and drink booths to choose from, even my favorite tamale vendor (The Gardener’s Feast) was there. There were different types of cuisine, fruit cups, dessert booths, water, sodas, and beer. It seemed like there were endless possibilities. The food area was pretty crowded and I heard beer wasn’t cheap, so I didn’t spend too much time there.

RR: What was your favorite installation(s)?

Alex: This was my first time at Luminaria. I think my favorite was Los Inocentes – a singing group. They were so peppy and happy to be there. The easiest one to photograph, however, was the giant stone head. The colors were so bright and vivid, and it was bright enough to use a fast shutter speed.

The large Olmec head infront of the Instituto Cultural de México drew one of the largest crowds last night. Photo by Alex Richter.
The large Olmec head infront of the Instituto Cultural de México drew one of the largest crowds last night. Projected images and patterns brought the head to life. Photo by Alex Richter.

RR: Do you have a favorite photo or moment from the evening?

Alex: Yes! My favorite was of the musician playing the double bass. I really enjoyed the band, but this particular musician really caught my eye, and made for a great picture.

A bassist plays on one of several stages during Luminaria. Photo by Alex Richter.
A bassist plays on one of several stages during Luminaria. Photo by Alex Richter.

RR: Night photography can be especially difficult, were there any technical challenges that you feel were unique to taking photos at Luminaria 2013?

Alex: The most difficult part was getting my manual settings just right between installations. Some were brighter than others, while others were moving a lot, in low light or a combo. And the crowd was a bit difficult, I always had to wait a few moments, or take a few shots to get it just right.

RR: Do you have a photo that didn’t quite turn out right?

Alex: I have plenty of those – trying to get my manual settings right. I think I had the blurriest photos for the acrobats. They were in low light, against the clouds, which made for a weirdly lit background, and moving; so it was hard to get the perfect shot of them.

Created with flickr slideshow.

RR: What/who sparked your interest in photography?

Alex: Two things – My family and National Geographic Magazine. My mom had a 35mm Olympus that I learned to shoot in manual, on film maybe early middle school. Throughout the years, I just photographed things and places I like, people I know. I finally saved up for a Nikon d60 when I was 16. In high school I photographed for the school newspaper and yearbook – events, sports, people. And of course National Geographic Magazine as a kid, always had me blown away and obsessed with pictures.

Photo by Alex Richter.
Photo by Alex Richter.

RR: What other freelance work have you come across? Have you had an opportunity to use it at/for school?

Alex: Today I love photographing everything. I mostly love candid shooting – kids, animals, sports, landscape. I do shoot a lot of portraits, but I’m still learning how to place people, without feeling too posed. I also love to travel, so I always have my camera ready for landscape and wildlife. Unfortunately I haven’t done any official collegiate work. I would love to be a sports photographer, but I’m too busy trying to keep my grades up for nursing school.

RR: Instagram. Love it? Hate it? Care? What’s the appeal to your generation (I guess they’re calling us “millennials” these days)?

Alex: I have mixed feelings about it. I very recently (within the past month) got an Instagram account. It’s fun, it encourages creativity; however, like any photography tool or editing software, just because you use it doesn’t mean you’re automatically a photographer. I think our generation loves it because it takes boring snapshots from our daily lives and makes us seem more interesting and appealing.

RR: Do you think digital photography, or perhaps widespread access to digital editing software, has changed the industry for better or for worse?

Alex: Once again, mixed feelings. I’m amazed at the things you can do these days with editing software. In so many ways it’s made the life of photographers easier, and challenged them in new ways. In other ways I think it’s made everyone think they’re a photographer. A good photographer uses software to enhance an already good photograph – to perfect it. Someone who thinks they’re a photographer because they have the equipment and software, bases the appeal of their photo off manipulating a snapshot. So while I love the infinite possibilities technology has brought the photography world, at the end of the day, through all the software, I hope people can still distinguish a true photographer from someone who can simply manipulate a photograph on the computer.

RR: Do you have a personal or professional website/portfolio of your work? How can potential clients contact you?

Alex: I have two different ways of viewing some of my work – Wix and Facebook.

Potential clients are always welcome to contact me at my email: Amrichter9@gmail.com

More Galleries on the Rivard Report:

Gallery: Rodeo Valentine from Corey Leamon

Gallery: Al Rendon’s River Walk Holiday Lights, Past and Present

Gallery: Bike It! Mural Tour by Tom Trevino

Gallery: Urban Spaces Tour 2012 by Iris Dimmick

Gallery: The Raul Jimenez Thanksgiving Dinner, a Community Tradition

Gallery: Día de los Muertos by John Schulze

The Rivard Report is always looking for local photographers to feature on our homepage gallery – it’s easy and we pay. Interested professionals and hobbyists with a compelling visual story to share are encouraged to contact Managing Editor Iris Dimmick, iris@rivardreport.com

This article was assembled by various members of the San Antonio Report staff.