Ricky Hill: 17 Men Who Make Us Proud To Be Vincy
He’s unconventional, passionate and tenacious in his artistic conviction. Photographer/ Videographer Ricky Hill is next up on the list of 17 Men who make us Proud to be Vincy! Ricky was actually born in St. Lucia, his father is Dominican and his mother is Vincentian. Since he has lived in St. Vincent from a tender age and his work showcases so much of our sites, scenes and faces, he is not just Vincentian by descent through his mother, but Vincy by heart and soul.
Hill moved to St. Vincent with his mom and dad at the age of five. His schooling began at a Calliaqua Anglican School, then he transferred to Brighton Primary School. He would go on to attend the St. Vincent Grammar School then the St. Vincent and Grenadines Community College. However, he did not complete the stipulated two years at the SVGCC because he decided after a little over a year that he had enough and didn’t see it necessary to invest any more time and effort into it.
After that, he went to the Baptist Bible College of the Caribbean here in St. Vincent for two years then transferred to Northland International University in Wisconsin. This he describes as a disaster as he was kicked out of the University, invited back, then kicked out a second time after getting in some trouble. He would then return home to continue his pursuit of happiness.
He realized that there was a need for new teachers at the time in St. Vincent and applied for the job. After becoming a teacher he realized that he loved teaching; the act of imparting knowledge to an individual, but would soon come to loathe all of the regulations and requirements that go along with the profession. “The lesson plans, marking hundreds of books”, these were some of things that frustrated him about the job. He admitted that he found a new appreciation for all teachers but ultimately he resigned after realizing he was unhappy working for someone else especially under such strict conditions.
Ricky was then attracted to a job at his church’s office that seemed to promise him an opportunity to be creative. He took up the post and this was actually where photography became a big part of his life. This was however not the first time he delved into the photography world.
“If I had paid attention I might have been a photographer a long time ago.”
In the summer after he finished his first year at the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Community College, he worked at Roger’s Photo Studio. They trained him to clean photographic film. They gave him a camera and sent him out in Kingstown to take photos, photos of anything and anyone, he had complete creative control. “I would be walking around town looking for the perfect shot, trying to make sure this lines up with that, and this person was in just the right place…” it was love at first capture but at the time he only regarded it as “fun” so it was short-lived.
Fast forward a few years to his days of working at his church’s office. A DSLR camera was donated to the church and so he was prompted to work on his photography skills once more. He would take photos after a service one day along with a friend who was a more experienced photographer. It didn’t take long for him to realize that his shots were inferior to hers. That’s when she introduced him to the manual settings that allowed her to make her images look more appealing. He would continue to research about his craft and practice. He even joined the Vincy Photography Facebook Page where he would receive critique on his work and they would post new challenges that forced him to think outside the box and try different techniques. It became clear to him that this was his passion, and it was definitely more than just “fun”.
“I’ve never loved doing anything as much as I love doing photography”
Ricky’s job became overwhelming as it required a lot of his time and energy, and since his photography was starting to take off, he left his job at the office to focus on his passion.
Hill shared that he is driven by creativity. “I want people to see my photos and think, how? Then they should ask if I used Photoshop and I want to say, no.” He is constantly thinking of unusual ways to create interesting shots. Sometimes he plays with fire, sometimes he plays with water but at the end of the day he produces images that are snippets of time frozen at just the right moment to represent the unique ideas that are in his head. He named Benjamin Von Wong as one of his biggest inspirations, explaining that his photography is mind-blowing which is how he hopes his photos would be regarded.
To keep growing and getting better at his craft, Ricky uses Instagram. Whenever he feels like he’s getting comfortable he goes to the explore page and looks at the most incredible photos he can find and it drives him to push himself harder and never settle for mediocrity. Quite often, his most memorable shots are from spur of the moment trips or experiments with his friend Kamillo Blake who is also another one of St. Vincent’s talented photographers. They challenge themselves to use the most random objects to create shots that are eye-catching and showcase their creativity.
Some persons may know Ricky from his YouTube videos. When asked how his channel ‘Ricky is Ricky’ came about, he said that he had wanted to make videos since 2007. For years he would watch and be inspired by the cinematic creations of his favorite YouTubers. He finally ran out of excuses and worked up the courage in 2016 after acquiring a decent camera. He would film arbitrary moments throughout his day, collage them together in a video and call it “Ricky’s Random Adventures”. After a while he decided to go for a more organized chronological style with his videos, thus, the daily vlogging (logging one’s experiences, thoughts, opinions and interests in video form) began. He shared that this decision was heavily influenced by Casey Neistat who he regarded as one of the greatest vloggers on YouTube.
The statement ‘Ricky is Ricky’ is more than just a channel name. It’s like a mantra that Hill lives by. He is simply himself and he’s open to expressing his creativity through different art forms, so one day that might be through photography, another day videography, and the next just might be through writing; he is not confined by labels or societal ideals. When asked about his ultimate goal, he spoke passionately about travelling the world making videos and taking photos, making a living from living life to the fullest.