Photo of local photographer Richard Shimizu at a local event, Buskerfest, by Jon Wallace. Courtesy Heather Kern.

A local photographer known for capturing Long Beach inhabitants with a kind and creative curiosity will be honored during CityHeART, Inc.’s third annual HeART of the City Award on Friday, Jan. 25, the nonprofit announced.

You’ve probably seen Richard Shimizu at any given event, from festivals to open mic nights to art shows, snapping away at the action with his Panasonic FS19. He posts his raw and unedited photos to social media for viewers to enjoy, offering a truly authentic look at local life.

The HeART of the City Award event celebrates the nonprofit organization’s three years of “wholeheARTedly loving our city and telling its stories.”

Shimizu, a longtime volunteer with the organization, was chosen to receive the award for his unrelenting support of local events. A Long Beach native who turned his awkwardness in crowds into a hobby of capturing cultural happenings on camera, Shimizu is a familiar face around town.

However, it wasn’t always so simple. He said in a 2017 interview with the Long Beach Post that he used to feel a little embarrassed when photographing people.

“You know, a stranger taking your picture is always awkward, so I met some people in a band, they were very welcoming about my taking pictures,” he said. “After that it was like, ‘Oh, okay,’ it just went from there.”

“We honestly couldn’t come up with anyone more deserving of the award,” CityHeART Executive Director Paige Pelonis said in a statement. “We had our annual meeting to plan out our list of potential honorees, and every single one of us suggested Richard. He’s truly one of the best people in all of Long Beach.”

Also scheduled for the event is a special keynote presentation from fellow photographer Matt Roberts, the creator of Humans of Long Beach, an increasingly popular Facebook Page highlighting the lives of Long Beach residents. Attendees can also expect live art, live music, games and refreshments.

‘I want to speak to everyone’: The human behind Humans of Long Beach

Founded in 2016, City HeART works with the community to lessen its struggles. Every year the nonprofit gives sack lunches to those experiencing homelessness, offers therapeutic art workshops to veterans and others in recovery and hosts self-care workshops to victims of abuse, among other programs.

The third annual HeART of the City Award is on Jan. 25 at 7 p.m. at the Scottish Rite Event Center, 855 Elm Ave. Tickets are $30 for general admission with sponsorship opportunities available. Proceeds benefit CityHeART, Inc.’s service programs. For more information, visit the website here.

Asia Morris is a Long Beach native covering arts and culture for the Long Beach Post. You can reach her @hugelandmass on Twitter and Instagram and at [email protected].