We had the good fortune of connecting with Rishi Deka and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Rishi, how do you think about risk?
I have been crafting a lot of poetry this year, and I would like to share my perspective on risk with a limerick titled ‘A New Trail’:

Obscure Path Treaded.
Mundane Existence Dreaded.
Amorphous Realms Mutated
  Into Actualities Venerated.
Beckoning Vitalities Created.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I began my unique journey five years ago while in graduate school at the University of Utah. As a photojournalist for the student newspaper, I received an award for my coverage of Black Lives Matter, and I was even able to shoot former Vice President and 2020 President Elect Joe Biden when he spoke at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. I graduated from the University of Utah in Fall 2017 with a PhD in health services research with specializations in epidemiology and biostatistics. I continued my academic career in medicine as a Postdoc in Radiation Oncology at UC San Diego. My medical research in racial health disparities is in the fields of oncology/psychiatry and has been published in JAMA, JAMA Oncology, Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Cancer, Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, and Prostate Cancer and Prostatic Diseases. I am also an instructor in Biostatistics I and II at UCSD.

At the same time, I commenced my career as a freelance photographer. While creative freelancing is very empowering, it is arduous to get your work published and to build connections, a brand, and a renowned reputation. I currently contribute my work to Shutterstock Editorial and Associated Press. In the three years that I have worked as a creative freelancer, I have had my photography published in 42 countries countries across all continents and in media outlets such as Yahoo! News, MSN, The Guardian, ABC, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Deutsche Welle, El Pais, and Good Morning America. Most of my work is in photojournalism and entertainment. I have had the opportunity to photograph a diverse array of people that includes Ringo Starr, Tiger Woods, John Legend, Dua Lipa, Laurence Fishburne, Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert, Lana Del Rey, Camila Morrone, Paula Abdul, Andrea Bocelli, Billy Bob Thornton, Kiefer Sutherland, Florence Welch, Lizzy Caplan, Cheech & Chong, Alicia Garza, Madison Beer, and Chris Brown.

One salient lesson I have learned from my experience in disparate fields is that to be good at anything takes tenacity, copious commitment, and endless effort. Life truly is a journey and not a sprint!

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
San Diego is famous for it’s beaches. There are a number of spots we could visit to get a diverse beach experience. This includes Cabrillo in Point Loma, Gliderport in La Jolla, Silver Strand in Coronado, Swami’s in Encinitas, and the campgrounds in Carlsbad. Due to my love for horror, the Whaley House Museum is a must see! And since a lot of my work is in entertainment, we would obviously attend a concert or two! Finally, for something more off the beaten path, we would visit Goat Canyon Trestle near Jacumba Hot Springs in East County. There are abandoned rail cars in the area with riveting graffiti!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?

Foremost, I want to thank my family – my parents and my sister. Without their love and encouragement, I would not be who or where I am today.
Second, I would like to thank the multitude of celebrities who have given me the unique opportunity to capture their beauty. It’s not a trifling matter to trust someone enough to have them take your picture. It’s a very intimate thing.
There are also a number of creatives who I would like to acknowledge as well. They are all talented, open-minded, and astute women:
Daegan Spies, an extremely empathetic colorist, photographer, and animal lover.
Emerson Smith, a young model with No Ties Management and a soccer star.
Alana Jenks, a rising TikTok personality with electrifying vocals and dance moves.
Cailin Murray, a seasoned cheerleader and impeccable fashion designer.

Website: www.rishideka.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rishi_the_refined/
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rishideka/
Other: https://profiles.ucsd.edu/rishi.deka

Image Credits
All images taken by Rishi Deka.

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