May 13, 2019
The Photographer Interviews - Michael Ryan
Well, I never thought that photography was for me. It started once I found my sister’s old film camera Smena35 and took it with me to my friend’s photoshoot. As they say you must spoil before you spin but to my surprise my first film turned out to be good. Inspired by my first success I decided to continue filming.
I just look around. My biggest inspirations are nature and people. Two can never be the same. There are so many people in the world and each of them is a unique person with his/her own look and story.
For me, every person is a story and I want to tell these stories through my photos. During a photo shoot, you need to gain complete trust between the photographer and model in order to capture the “true” essence of a person.
The essence that could be hidden in the daily lives of loved ones, friends, colleagues at work, and even from children or parents. I see how people can take away their “masks” and show their true selves. And I enjoy grasping their true personalities with their happiness, sorrow, hope, seriousness, sexuality, doubt, inspiration…
Not so long ago, I completed additional education in visual composition and our task was to constantly take pictures of anything that inspires us.
Funny enough, I didn’t have a single portrait.
All of my pictures depicted objects and simple things that surround us in regular life. After taking about 50 photos it struck me how many beautiful things are around us, but we often neglect their beauty as we are so used to them in daily life. There’s a great quote from the “Frank” movie: "Inspiration can come from anywhere , even from a turf on the carpet."
As for now I only use two cameras -- a digital Olympus Pen E-PL 5 and a film camera Canon A-1. I love working with these cameras and I’m a strong believer that photography output doesn’t depend on the technology you use.
You can achieve the same results with a smartphone or point-and-shoot camera. It all boils down to the photographer’s vision and steady hands.
I’ve just recently printed a couple of portraits and I asked myself several times, “Why didn’t I do this before?”
It’s difficult to describe this feeling when you can hold your own work in your hands. You can examine it inch by inch, feel the texture, stroke the surface. It’s just a new level of connection with your work.
I cannot say the biggest challenge has already happened. I believe there will always be a challenge. Every time I shoot I discover something new. I see how and what could be combined, and new angles and composition possibilities.
For now, I’ve found my next challenge -- to shoot a group portrait. My main focus was single portrait photography as I wasn’t ready to jump into a group one yet. But now with all the experience and knowledge under my belt I believe I can do it. I’m ready for any challenges ahead as they help you to grow as a professional and bring more interesting stuff in your life.