Richard's fascination with creating images began in high school when he was flunking Japanese 3 and was allowed to switch to ceramics to save his GPA.  Attached to the ceramics class was a darkroom that was out of use because funding was cut to the program.  Hama spoke with the ceramics teacher and asked if he could access the darkroom and do photography instead of ceramics because the semester was half way over.  She agreed, and soon Richard was developing and printing his own work. Hama became passionate about it, learning how to develop and enlarge from books in his school library.  His love for photography grew which progressed into a focus on cinematography at Humboldt State University.  Hama's love for photography translated into his first films that extracted individual frames from the motion picture, rearranging them using the optical printer.  From transitions to effects, Rich learned that he could tell powerful stories through the sequence of each frame.

In 2006 Hama joined the Local 600 Cinematographers Guild as a film loader.  Through the years he worked his way up the camera department, working in commercials, television and feature films.  In 2018 Richard shot his first feature film "Faith".