Week 8 featured the talented Ryan Schude.
1) Tell us briefly about where you're from and where you're living now and how either have influenced your photography?
I grew up in a suburb of Chicago until I was 18 and then moved to California where I am still living. Both places have influenced the Americana aspects of the subject matter I choose to shoot.
2) Talk about the series of portraits where people are standing holding something in their hands, as seen here: www.flickr.com/photos/ryanschude/388948413
This series was inspired by the wonderfully colored locations around Los Angeles. I wanted to find an interesting way to use the locations that wouldn't be your standard girl/fashion photo. The series is far from finished but I have been pulled into the larger production tableau style photos which are taking up the majority of my time and have put the other series on hold for now.
3) Whose work has influenced you over the years (you can include someone on Flickr if you have one)?
Gregory Crewdson, Philip Lorca Dicorcia, Jeff Wall, and David la Chapelle were a few that really got me excited about photography in the beginning. I also had a strong affinity towards street photographers like Henry Cartier Bresson, Stephen Shore and Gary Winograd. More recently i've found people like julia fullerton-batten and eric ogden producing contemporary work I've enjoyed quite a bit.
4) Lighting is obviously essential for some of your work, what are you trying to achieve through using artificial light?
That's a good question because I used to shoot a lot of natural light street photos and loved the chance scenarios documentary work allowed but when i started incorporating artificial light I found the control more suitable towards a staged setting. I suppose the added light simply makes it more obviously fabricated which in the end adds to the drama of the whole process.
5) What would you recommend to someone who is just starting out but wants to light their shots like you do...such as a basic startup kit?
Hmmm, that's a question a lot of photographers ask me and it always seems best to determine how much you want to spend and go from there. You don't really need an expensive lighting set to get the effect, it just makes it easier. The old Lumedyne kits are great because they are relatively cheap and portable while still allowing for essential lighting modifiers like grid spots and softboxes. If you have the money available I would always recommend getting the best equipment you can afford because it is generally worth it and you will just end up buying it eventually anyways after you realize the shortcomings of the cheap stuff.
6) What's something in photography that you've never done but want to try?
I would like to stage a scene in a busy downtown area where we block off the streets and have hundreds of extras all under careful direction.
7) Which is your favorite photo we chose for Spotlight Seven, tell us something about it?
I think the pumpkin one would be my favorite of those 10. It's more because of the personal process that went into creating it since I walked by that apartment complex and realized I had to make a photo there but didn't know what to do with it. I had scouted out a dozen or so similar locations for the food series and got really excited when i saw the potential for matching the pumpkin with that environment. I then found the perfect dress and fortunately the model and hair/makeup all came together just right. her expression worked just as I imagined it, she really took direction well.
8) What are your professional aspirations in the next few years?
Ideally, I will continue to push the type of work that interests me artistically as opposed to catering the work to a more "commercially viable" perspective.
9) These two photos are just amazing: www.flickr.com/photos/ryanschude/2220901137/ www.flickr.com/photos/ryanschude/1702100719/
Since they aren't portraits of single people though I can't invite them into Spotlight Seven, but I'd love to hear a little bit about them.
These photos represent the style of photography I am most interested in and the direction i hope to continue to head in the immediate future. there is a strong attention to detail that goes into each one regarding props, talent, wardrobe, location, lighting, and finally creating a moment that ties the whole scene together.
10) Show us a photo on Flickr that you wish you had taken.