Diversity, body positivity, and inclusivity are all big buzzwords nowadays, but for Brooklyn-based photographer and director Grace Rivera, these concepts are all part of who she has always been—as well as being uncommonly savvy. After completing her BFA at RISD, Rivera decided to learn the business side of photography and got herself an internship at Wieden + Kennedy in Portland. When she wasn’t soaking up insights from the agency’s producers, she was photographing her fellow interns, a diverse group of young people, each with their own unique story to share. The internship turned into a job, during which time Rivera developed a photographic style inspired by the truth-telling of artists like Lauren Greenfield and Tierney Gearon but with a fashion- and beauty-centric twist.
Her work is bold and graphic, and her subjects radiate personality and a relaxed, nothing-to-prove confidence—qualities that lend an honesty to her ad campaigns and an immediacy to her editorial commissions. “I want to make images that contradict everything that girls have been told about how they’re supposed to behave,” says Grace, who was shortlisted for the prestigious Young Guns 18 in 2020. Her cllients include Fabletics, Hush Puppies, Adidas, Allbirds, Brooks Running, Nike, Sephora, SoulCycle, Girlfriend Collective, The New York Times, Teen Vogue, Fast Company, Vogue Mexico, Billboard, and The Hollywood Reporter.