Say hello to Ryan :
Where are you from? Where have you been?
I’ve been living in New York City for the past six years, but I grew up on the other side of the Hudson River in NJ. Having a hand in multiple industries has given me the opportunity to jump around all the major US cities, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
What types of photography do you do?
Art, fashion, portraiture, music, documentary, and photojournalism. My favorite is creating a conceptual piece from start to finish – it’s a very personal process.
What was the moment you decided to become a photographer?
Photography kind of found me. In high school, a small group of us would set out straight across the road from the school building to this dark, abandoned town hidden well behind a long gravel road (a former home to a variety of mental health institutions) called the North Princeton Developmental Center in Skillman, NJ. Some kids went to smoke or drink away from school grounds, others went to ride bikes on the trails, and some new faces would come along just for the adventure. It was about two weeks into the school year and I happened to have an old Minolta XD11 loaded and ready with some Ilford 400 bouncing around in my backpack. On that mid-September day when the group approached those beat up wooden red gates to NPDC, I remembered I had a roll of 24 exposures due to develop the next morning for my photo class….
Photography is competitive. How do you stand out?
Never stop learning (business, technology, science, psychology, marketing, tools of the trade etc.) the world you know is constantly changing.
What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?
Photograph subjects that interest you…then seek out subjects that don’t. You would be surprised where you end up, and what exciting things you will create – it’s an opportunity to see in your lifetime.
What was your most memorable photoshoot?
We were shooting some photos for a press kit on the roof of an apartment building one afternoon in NYC when this storm front rolled in. Got to watch it float in from New Jersey to lower Manhattan. If you look closely, you can see the Statue of Liberty really tiny in the frame.
What’s your philosophy when it comes to being a great photographer?
Don’t be afraid to put yourself in the places you want to be, no one is going to invite you along.
What’s a deal breaker for you when deciding to do a shoot?
Lack of interest from either side, things are no fun when everyone is not having fun. I expect equal energy levels to be put into a project.
How do you express yourself through your photography?
Everything I capture becomes a part of my life’s movie – it’s a momentary reflection of where I was at the time, or who I met that day. I’m not the greatest with words – I speak my thoughts better through images.
What’s the most inspiring photo you’ve ever seen?
One of my favorite books is from documentary photographer, Susan Meiselas called “Nicaragua,” check that out. Anything in the NASA image library, no matter what it is, it’s automatically surreal and amazing.
What photography advice do you wish you had when you were first starting out?
Growing up, I was not a very social kid – I wish I was told how outgoing and interactive you have to be. That goes for anything, not just photography – you have to get out there and talk to people! Make connections and don’t be afraid to show your personality.
What kind of gear do you have?
Personally, I have on hand a Nikon D610, Leica M4 (film), and a Sony a7RII. My favorite is whatever is in my backpack for the day because it’s the one I took with me. For the most part, I rent what is necessary depending on the client budget and what is right to complete the assignment.
What has photography done for you as a person? How has it changed you?
It’s made me more outgoing, observational, and aware. I am drawn to science, optics, technology, and psychology – photography hits all four of those boxes for me. My camera has created more positive opportunities for me to be involved within the community I live in.
For anyone that wants to get in touch with Ryan, here’s some contact information:
Ryan, thank you for the candid interview!
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us.