Interview With Ryan Schude
Ryan Schude doesn't just take pictures, he tells stories. Not in the sense of every picture telling a story, but there are actual narratives woven in through a physical space. They are incredible, fully encapsulating images. Schude lives in Los Angeles, in a creative haven share-house/studio space. The fact that these images come from LA, for me seems to support these hyper-constructed images on some level. It's not that these images could only be created in LA; however they seem to be imbued with a sense of the city. Schude and I had a chat about his work.
When did you get started taking photos?
I've had a camera since I was about 10, but I didn't really begin to take it seriously until college. As soon as I left school, photography became my full time life.
What changed that led you to taking it seriously?
Throughout high school I was taking all classes to prepare for a business degree in college. About halfway through that I realized it wasn't for me and at the same time i was discovering photography. I suppose there was a realization that i should pursue something i was passionate about as opposed to something that seemed to simply be practical.
What attracts you to taking photos?
Looking at them afterwards
What is it that makes photography more powerful than other mediums? At least for you?
I don't know that its more powerful than other mediums for me, it just happens to be the one that somehow fits with my personality. I have a tendency to treat it very clinically at times but whether i like it or not, there is an inevitable communication that emerges from the images. I enjoy the fact that without intending to do so, my photos speak a lot about who i am.
What do you think your photos say about you?
Its interesting to hear people comment while looking through your book. A lot of reactions tend towards the images being dark or disturbed but the ones that really resonate with it see more humor than anything which always brings about an instant connection with me.
What are the main principles you have guiding you in taking a great photo? I.e. How would an amateur take the best photo that they can?
Just doing it in the first place is probably the most important thing. I dunno, there are so many variables, its hard to break it down to certain principles. It seems the best work comes from the pure desire to make it. I hate to be so vague but its not complete to say concept, or technical execution or emotional investment are any more important than the other.
It's the pure desire to do what exactly? Is it to make art or is it simply to record? for you at least...
I rarely have a desire to use photography simply to document. That's not to say that I don't try once in a while but generally i would prefer to sit on an idea for a while and craft it into something very particular. Take street photography for example. I love looking at it and have the utmost respect for those who do it well because i was never able to accomplish that. For me, it makes more sense to see the incident and recreate it with full control over the scene. I'll be the first to admit that the "real" occurrence is almost always going to be more powerful, and the majority of staged photos feel forced and are less interesting because of that feeling.
What do you think is the most important way photographers need to grow in order to survive in the technological age?
The technology has always been secondary to the photo itself. Of course, there are countless more possibilities for photographers to achieve their vision today but if anything they are all distractions from simply making good photos. A basic, powerful portrait will always contend with any complex visual mess we can make with all the toys available now.
Do you think an iPhone has a good enough camera to create a powerful portrait?
Of course, it really isn't matter of whether the camera is good enough though. It will be interesting to see how the diversity of technical approaches further polarizes the photo community and simultaneously draws it together. Galleries are putting screen captures from google images in shows while most would still be far more likely to accept a project shot on 8x10. Its going to matter exponentially less and more as time goes on depending on the context.
What was the image you took that has been the most powerful to you?
The Saturn was one of my first tableau style photos, so it was an important milestone to mark the beginning of a new era for me. It also is one of the more personal stories since I experienced a similar situation with my own family.
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