Photographer Chad Richardson will walk around his Redondo Beach neighborhood, camera in tow, trying to find the “stories in the moment.” Maybe it's the men at his local barbershop or finding someone interesting walking to the Galleria.
“In all my photographs, hopefully if you look at it you can see the story that's happening,” Richardson said.
Richardson's work will be on display in the exhibit, “People of the South Bay,” beginning Saturday, Feb. 16, from 1 to 3 p.m., at Pursue Coffee, located at 1503 Aviation Blvd. in Redondo Beach. The event is also a benefit for the family of Angelina Pinedo, who was killed in January in a hit-and-run, just a block away from the coffee shop.
After a long career in acting, singing and songwriting, as well as being a music executive, Richardson developed a passion for photography about a year ago.
“Completely out of the blue I got interested in photography and picked up the camera and just started doing it,” said Richardson, who has no formal photography training. “I don't read music, but I made a living at it. When I got 'Rent' I never acted a day in my life and I got the lead. I have a tendency to just do things if there's creativity involved.”
Richardson's photos are of every day people, but he transforms the images through editing.
“I change a lot of the colors of the photograph and make it how I want to see it,” Richardson said. “To me, what is most important is the moment that happens in the picture. So the actual photos themselves are not that complicated in terms of the raw pictures. It's not a fancy picture. What's more important to me is capturing that moment and then taking the picture and manipulating it to look the way I want it. I don't do any Photoshop in terms of changing things, it's just colors I play with.”
Creativity in the arts has always been part of Richardson's life. He left his hometown of Newfoundland, Canada to attend chef's school in Paris. Even though he earned a degree, he never used it in his professional life.
Richardson became a recording artist, releasing albums in Canada. That helped him land the leading role in “Rent” for five years in Canada and then in New York. He was a professional songwriter for 10 years before moving to the executive side, which he did for eight years. He was the creative director at Ole, before becoming general manager at SOCAN Music until last year. He left the music executive world last February and started his own music consulting business, The S.O.N.G. Space.
Richardson and his ex-wife, who is from Torrance, arrived in the South Bay 17 years ago, after they left New York following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, to raise a family. They lived 14 blocks from the World Trade Center. They have an 11-year-old son Luca.
Now Richardson has more free time to pursue his creativity, which he is doing with photography. After 17 years in the South Bay, he's using that creativity to express his love for his community.
He said his love come through the portraits.
“I really wanted to celebrate the South Bay because I really do love it here,” he said.
Richardson is looking to local businesses to donate items for the raffle. All proceeds go to the Pinedo family.
“It's about the South Bay taking care of the South Bay,” Richardson said.
“People of the South Bay” will exhibit at Pursue Coffee for two weeks.
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