Capturing Back: An Interview With Riley Buttery

WORDS BY IRINE LE // @IRLIRINE
All images provided by Riley Buttery 
Having shot for companies such as Brandy Melville and Triangl Swimwear, Riley Buttery has achieved more success through her love for art and photography than the average teenager. Riley's a photographer from Florida who is known for her alternative and aesthetically pleasing photoshoots. Read on about her passion for art and balancing photography between everything else below!

Written Citizen: Hey Riley. How's your day going?
Riley Buttery: My day is going great so far, thanks for asking!

WC: For someone your age, you've managed to be able to work with several really well-known companies in the fashion industry. How would you say the experience has been?
RB: Very educating and motivating, actually. It took a lot of rejection to get through to successes, and I didn’t think that I would learn so much about the industry and about life through working with these companies, but I honestly wouldn't trade these experiences for anything. 

WC: Did you start out photographing your friends and it kind of blossomed from there?
RB: Pretty much. Starting out, I only had my friends to use as models and to get my idea across. At this point, I think it’s more of a conscious choice to use those I know personally or in depth to model for me, it really helps build character in a photo. 

WC: What has your most favorite photoshoot been? 
RB: I don’t know if I have a favorite photoshoot in particular, but my most fond memories of shooting have definitely been from times where I was just comfortable with trying new things and not feeling restricted. I think because of that intrepid nature, I really got into my element and was able to create better images. If it feels right, it usually is.

WC: Do you have any other artistic hobbies you'd like to pursue? 
RB: Absolutely. I’ve been taking on and trying a lot of different things recently, just to see what I like and what I can integrate with my current work. I’m working now on a performance piece and some correlating paintings/sculptures which should be really interesting. I’m also working larger now than I have before, especially when it comes to printing photos or painting, which is new and liberating to me.

WC: What are your plans in the next few years? Do you plan to take the world by storm and live in a big city or a totally mellow life? 
RB: My main goal right now is to go to an art school and not have a massive amount of student debt, but I really do want to end up living in New York City, whether it be in or after college. After visiting there a couple of times, I really fell in love with the business of it, it makes me feel like I should always be doing something which is great, definitely not a mellow life. 

WC: Three people or places that you would totally love to shoot for? 
RB: I’ve always wanted to shoot Chlo Sevigny, Natalie Portman, and Rose McGowan, my three eternal girl crushes, and Drew Barrymore circa 1990 (never forget).

WC: Do you think being a teenager has influenced your art or has your art impacted who you are?
RB: I think my age influences the reasons I make art for sure, and therefore how it ultimately is presented. I make art honestly, drawing from past experiences or using it to cope with current situations in my life, so in that way I think it aids in my ability to deal with those things, and also being able to make something beautiful out of it is a plus.

WC: Do you prefer to stay behind the lenses for now or do you have any plans of being in front of the camera soon?
RB: I feel most comfortable behind the camera, just because it’s what I’ve always done and I really love being able to manipulate and control an environment digitally. Recently, I was in the music video for CHVRCHES’ Empty Threat, and that was definitely a new experience, I loved it. That made me begin to think of other possibilities in front of the camera, which I am totally eager to pursue in the future, but for now I think it’s most important to hone in on my photos and other art.

WC: But segueing from photography to more about yourself, what's an average day for you that might not be documented on film?  
RB: I'm a student, so my days aren't as incredibly exciting as one may think. If I'm not at school I'm either making art, playing guitar, or going online, which sum up who I am as a person pretty well actually.

WC: Any favorite coffee drinks you drink every morning or favorite classes?
RB: My usual Starbucks order is venti iced coffee with toffee nut and whole milk, and I have environmental science in the mornings, which is actually the only science class I've ever taken that I'm genuinely interested. Knowing how things affect the environment and how it works is actually really cool.

WC: Any last messages for our readers? 
RB: This sounds so incredibly trite, but honestly not caring about what people think of you has been the most valuable thing I've ever learned. People spend so much time stressing on others' opinions, but it is so liberating to be/dress/act how you want to, with no limiting opinions. It has especially helped me with my art, which I brought into the same attitude. Trust yourself! 

Follow Riley on her Instagram or official site

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