Ryan Young, an LA and SF based photographer. A recent graduate from the photography program at Art Center College of Design. After the Summer 2012 Art Center Grad-Show, we caught up with Ryan …
If you had just 1 talent (and it could be anything), what would it be? Playing the piano. I’ve always had fun messing around with them.
If you could go back in time to orientation, what advice would you give yourself?Take as many classes as you can outside of your major and progress in your photography through those electives.
Tell us the story behind your favorite project: The project that I’m most attached to is one based on my family during an 8 month period. On April 13, 2012 my father suddenly passed away. After he had passed I moved back home and realized how much he really meant to the family. Besides being the main provider for my brother, mother, and myself, he took care of all the mundane, but crucial elements to the house. The elements that make a place more than a house, but a home. As the lawn transitioned from a lush green, to a brittle brown and his fish tank going from crystal clear to a milky green, I couldn’t help but notice an obvious void. I learned that it’s the small things that really symbolizes a person’s passing. Shooting photos was a true sense of therapy for my loss. It disconnected me just enough so that I could experience everything as an outsider. It allowed me to go from being in a tragic movie, to stepping outside of my perspective and become part of the audience. Photographing my house, family, and beloved artifacts gave me the ability to analyze specific shifts in my family. Shooting photos through this was an analytical approach towards making sense of my family’s condition, rather than continuing on in a stagnant emotional vortex. This family project is a journal. A record of relationships, transition, and my time spent back at home.
Do you have a ritual to your work process? I usually begin shoots by not photographing. I like to walk around an environment or hang out with my subject for a bit before pulling out the camera. When photographing people, especially in their private environments, my goal is to close the distance by making them forget I’m the photographer and they’re the sitter. I want them to experience me as a friend casually hanging out. Whether it’s engaging them in conversation or it’s becoming a participant in whatever it is they do, I really want them to be relaxed. Once I feel the comfort level is there, I usually start shooting.
And how do see yourself in 5 years? (cliché but it’s good!) I’m not sure where I’ll be located, but I’ll be skating, shooting photos, and owning my own dog.
Lastly, what is your spirit animal? Wolf.
Keep up with Ryan Young and all his projects – visit his official website.