Karissa Raya

Olive La Vida

Birth Support Person and Photographer

Becoming a mother in 2016 to Olive was the beginning of a renewal for Karissa. It was her birth experience that led her to connect more intimately with her intuitive nature and also realize that there are so many gaps in the care of women as they enter the formative postpartum phase. Karissa cared for herself as she did her newborn daughter, she believes that the mother is also newly born. It was soon after her daughter turned 1 she answered the calling to support people in the transition to parenthood and was trained by Oakland Midwife, Sumayyah Franklin, Founder & CEO of Sumi’s Touch as a full spectrum doula. This training was significant to the person Karissa began to embody. It was from this training that she not only began to more intently take her hobby and love for photography more seriously but also explore other new interests like herbalism, meditation, traditional birthwork, healing trauma, ego work and so much more. From here, her business, Olive la Vida was born.

Karissa has always appreciated photography and visual arts. Her mom constantly took family photos and made it a point to go to the local portrait studio. Karissa remembers her mom getting rolls of film developed regularly and having so many photos to look back on of her childhood. Looking back, there’s a moment, where in hindsight she realizes how much she loves the camera. Upon receiving her first paycheck from her very first job as a teenager ( a City of Santa Ana Lifeguard, at El Salvador park) she bought her first digital camera. Karissa is a first generation, Latinx, Mexican-American daughter of immigrants, born and raised in Santa Ana, California.

She supports families in documenting the beautiful milestones of life. As a birth support person and a photographer her purpose is to help people in keeping memories of their history.

Karissa’s intention with her camera is that her subject, whether it be a family, entrepreneur or a woman giving birth, that they feel seen.

Photography is so much more than a single moment, Karissa considers herself a visual storyteller and historian. For the families she documents, she imagines generations from now, their family members looking upon the photos and telling stories having so much gratitude that they have photos at all that keep their family history alive.

Connect with Karissa @karissamraya.

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