Ryan Schude is an imaginative photographer originally from the greater Chicago area. Currently based in Los Angeles he’s won several awards for his editorial & advertising work. Starting out at around aged 18, experimenting with portraiture photography, he followed up the interest by exploring painting, printmaking and film before finally honing his individual style and technique – which is as much setting the scene from a technical standpoint as crafting the perfect photographic shot!
1. What are your required components for creating the perfect shot?
Nothing is required, sometimes the perfect shot happens with just your phone and lucky timing during a bike ride. Others involve months of concepting, set building, prop and wardrobe deliberations, etc. Both approaches can be equally rewarding.
2. What underlying skills or knowledge do you have that influences your photography?
I try and remain open to any possibility. I can be very stubborn at times but need to remember to check that tendency and reconsider situations from a different perspective. For example, I may go into a shoot with a specific outcome in mind and midway through get a suggestion from someone or see an option I didn’t expect. My default reaction is to shut it down and stick to the plan since there is so much happening all at once already that completely shifting gears can throw a big wrench in the plan. Being able to think quick and adjust to a changing situation has helped open new opportunities. The challenge is knowing there is no right answer, one may not necessarily be better than the other, just propose different outcomes and deciding when to choose what ultimately defines the photo.
3. If you could ask one photographer one question, who and what would it be?
I’d ask Eggleston if he’d like to grab a beer.
4. Has there been a moment, photographic or otherwise, where you ‘missed the shot’?
Hah, plenty. Worse than missing it is getting it and then accidentally double exposing it a week later. I used to pull rolls of 35mm film in and out of my camera if I wasn’t finished yet and wanted to use a different stock. So you would wind the film into the canister, and then when you wanted to go back to it, use a little tool to extract it from the canister and then advance it to the appropriate frame you left off from. But you have to remember to advance it, not just put it in and start shooting from the beginning, doh!
5. What would be the elements for your ultimate photograph – person, place and/or thing – visualise that?
Again, there is no ultimate or perfect shot, many times I am obsessed with needing enough time, money, crew and preparation to overly control making a photograph. However, some of my favourite photos have happened on a whim with multiple variables organically coming together in just the right amounts to allow happy accidents to occur.
6. Is there a particular source, photographic or otherwise you turn to for inspiration?
Locations I see and the strangers interacting in those environments always provide a million stories that would be great to retell. Everywhere I go is a potential new photo. Of course we are bombarded with so much imagery everyday that it is impossible to deny the influence of film, literature, internet, advertising, etc. Collectives like This Is A Photo Blog are also great ways to cultivate inspiration. We trade off giving each other monthly assignments, it brings back the arbitrary task master school was good for.
7. Sell in a few key words your particular photographic style?
Narrative, environmental, wry.
8. What predictions do you have for the future of photography?
The simple technical access to photography has been made easier now than ever in its entire history. An obvious negative criticism claims that this results in an overabundance of lower tier, thoughtless work. Although this may be true to some extent, the opposite view is equally legitimate. Namely, that when you open the pool of creativity to a larger population, especially one that is not hindered by an obsession with sheer technical mastery, a revolution of creative freedom occurs. Now we see pre-teens with an equal ability to challenge the masters and push the entire spectrum to re-evaluate our boundaries. It’s exciting to witness and hopefully contribute to an overall renaissance of photographic thought.
9. Does your underwear reflect your photographic style, is it photogenic?
Unfortunately it does not reflect my style, nor is it photogenic, but that’s a good point, it should! I’ll get working on that…