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When people would ask me what I did for a living, I'd sometimes hesitate in answering. You see, I had an issue with being known as a photographer or even being referred to as an artist. And it was more than just the connotations and expectations people had of those titles. 

It runs deeper than that...


Let me take you back in time to a decade long since passed. It was the 1980s. It was the decade John Lennon was assassinated, the movie E.T. was released, Michael Jackson performed Thriller, a massive famine breaks out in Ethiopia, the wreck of the Titanic is found, the nuclear accident at Chernobyl occurs and the Berlin Wall finally falls in Germany.

But I didn't care. Not in the least.

Or more likely I was unaware of those events which did not seem to directly influence my life as a carefree child. The world in which I lived out my young childhood was small, yet big. Life was simple and it was good. It was a world made up of adventure, imagination and innocence. In my world I was invincible and everyone I knew was safe. Nothing could go wrong.

And then it did.

The decade came to an end.

Time moved on and decade after decade passed by. I grew older and the people around me grew older. And then they started dying. They became no more than a memory. And now, even in this moment as I write, I'm taken back to last week when I sat in the front pew listening to an account of my grandmother's life read out at her funeral. It was 5 months since her daughter's passing and 5 and half years since her husband's passing. These were people I knew personally. These were people that were close to me. And then they were gone.

Why do I tell you all this? Well, maybe in the hope that it puts things into perspective. You can take this as my attempt at getting to the essence of what really matters. You see, what really matters to me is not spending my life taking pretty pictures. Nor is it in running a successful business, making money or even becoming well-known.

And here's where we get back to the heart of the issue and the dilemma I face. The industry in which I'd found myself was one notoriously built upon the superficial and the artificial. We had somehow lost our way in there, so much so that we'd forgotten there was a real story behind the facade. We'd forgotten that there was indeed space for real creative expression. I know that the time I have in this life is valuable. Far too valuable to be spent on the meaningless and the artificial. I've learnt that the real thing, in all it's glory, in all it's nakedness, is far better. It is that which resonates deeply within us and has the power to change us.

And it is for this reason I am forever searching for truth.

That is why I do what I do.





12 comments:

  1. Kudos to you. For truth is the cry of all, but the game of the few.

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  2. Most of me immediately embraces it yet there is the part of me which reminds me that I need to be able to pay for stuff. In an ideal world I would do it all for free and not have to worry about having to deal with people who keep trying to tell me my worth and insisting that my price cannot be justified.

    I am really struggling with standing my ground as opposed to just taking photos for everyone cos it makes me happy. Well except when I can't pay my bills. I want people to be happy and to enjoy reliving that precious moment so I feel like I am making money out of something that is really theirs.

    I feel really lost. I enjoy taking photos, I hate the business side of it. I wish it was clear cut and I would know what to do.

    I guess it's a compliment when someone tells you that they love your photos so much that you have to take their wedding photos...instead of being their bridesmaid.

    My apologies but thanks for reading my rant. I guess it's nice to know there is light at the end of the tunnel and maybe one day, I'll find the right equilibrium for me too.

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  3. Deep man. Post travel epiphany? I can totally relate to what you're saying.. sometimes I feel the same way about what I've been doing and the tag that goes with it.. but seriously man, even though the industry can be artificial and superficial to the extreme, you always seem to cut through that with snaps that resonate much deeper. Art that appreciates true beauty and even challenges the mainstream. There's no hidden agenda; your inspiration is written all over what you do and that speaks true. I know I've been inspired greatly, and many others.. so I wanted to let you know that and I'm looking forward to hearing what you're cooking up next!

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  4. It's good to have reminders of who you are and what you believe in.

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  5. Lovely words! Looking forward to seeing the stories you capture ..

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  6. Thanks for sharing your heart. Everyone needs to take a step back and put things into perspective from time to time. Thanks for reminding me to do it.

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  7. Ryan, what you have written is beautiful... Not just because of well crafted words but the essence of where they have obviously come from... I'm glad that someone chooses to write these things for the world to see... I find it inspiring and I really hope that people read more of your stuff, not just because you're a friend of mine but because truth needs to be told - and I think you tell it well.

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  8. Thank you for what you have shared Ryan, you have put the very thoughts of many; of mine, into words. I appreciate that you are not only passionate about life, and desire to capture the very essence of it in portraiture but that you also take the time to reflect, and to love, and to serve throughout it all. May you be blessed in doing so.

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  9. wholeheartedly agree. Written very well :)

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  10. Very well written from deep within! It totally resonates. ~ Beautiful! Thank you for sharing, Ryan!

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Fine Art | Fashion | Lifestyle Photographer