BYO: What’s been the most unusual location for a shoot?
RYAN: I really enjoy shooting in townships or under developed areas, so much so that I created exhibition work from this during my studies. The location does all the work in creating an emotive piece that resonates with people. It also draws awareness to the day to day life of so many South Africans.
BYO: From your point of view, what makes a good picture?
RYAN: Uniqueness makes a good picture great. Every model has something distinctive about them, whether it be their look or their attitude. The same for a location. Finding this uniqueness between model and location and combining it makes for an outstanding picture.
BYO: Who influenced you the most? Are there any other photographers that you consider as idols?
RYAN: The first name that comes to mind is Annie Leibovitz. What a legend! Her interviews and snippets of her masterclasses are inspiring and motivating. Her flow from natural light to highly creative portraiture is very appealing.
BYO: How do you as a photographer make sure that the person you want to shoot looks the way you want to?
RYAN: I think planning and prep work makes for a successful shoot and help in achieving the right look. I start with creating a mood board, although I hated creating these in university but they have become essential to my shoots. I also look at images of the model beforehand so I can tweak style and location to suit the look that I want to achieve. I also like to think it creates a sense of trust for the model, to know that I have a vision and plan in mind.
BYO: What equipment do you prefer to use?
RYAN: Looking back, I used to be a big fan of flash photography and was hardly seen without my handy flash kit. Transitioning to my current style, I now prefer natural light and feel there is so much more beauty that I can create and manipulate with a good old reflector. I also used to be a big Nikon fan but I’ve moved over to Canon in the past few years.
BYO: Who or what is your dream subject?
RYAN: I really love shooting models with a story. I’ve recently spoken with a beautiful young women with vitiligo [where skin loses its pigment cells]. Just listening to her inspirational story motivated me. She would really create a beautiful story in her portraits and in some way bring back the confidence she may have lost due to her condition. My dream subjects would all have a story that I would challenge myself to communicate in a single snap.