POV

Best of Instagram: Ryan Johnson

I don’t think I have a story to tell, but my models do …

Interview by Citizen Brooklyn - teo@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos by Ryan Johnson - www.instagram.com/ryanjohnsonphotography
Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Tell us a little bit about your history as a photographer? When did you start and why? How have you developed since the beginning? Do you have any background in traditional photography?
I started taking pictures at a very young age, but I didn’t start taking a serious interest in it until my early high school years when I became fascinated with cinematography, which then led to a greater interest in traditional photography with the purchase of an SLR. I was always interested in taking portraits.  My style was always influenced by cinematography, because that was originally what influenced me. I don’t use a lot of excess off-camera lighting and never use on camera flash.

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Give us some technical insight into your photography; what equipment do you use and which apps for shooting and post-production?
The camera equipment that I use the most is a Canon system. I use both a Canon EOS Mk II and a Canon EOS 1N for when I am shooting 35mm. The lenses that I use the most are a 50mm and an 85mm prime.  I also shoot a lot of medium format film. The camera that I use the most is a Hasselblad 500 series. For postproduction I am in the process of switching from Aperture to Lightroom. I feel that Apple’s professional application support has really gone down hill and Adobe has always been on top of their game. I use Silverfast 8 for scanning my film and Photoshop for editing the scans.

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

When and where do you do most of your shooting?
I do most of my shooting in and around San Francisco and Mare Island, which is a defunct naval base in the east bay.

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

If this set of photos were a story what would it be? How do the photos relate to each other in your mind? Is there a purposeful mood or theme that goes deeper than the face value image?
I don’t think I have a story to tell, but my models do (even if they don’t realize it).  I like people to form their own stories about the people and their emotions that I capture. The photos are related in a technical aspect, but in my mind they seem more fragmented. A lot of my memories I can tie directly to photographs that I have taken. I think I am trying to capture what most photographers would call “slice of life” portraits, which are people in their element, although I really enjoy doing something supernatural or surreal on occasion.

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Do you intend to expand on these current themes, or do you have other ideas in mind for the future?
My themes and perspective are ever-changing depending on whatever is happening in my life.  If I am feeling a little depressed my work may be darker and my work may be lighter or carefree when I am experiencing the opposite.

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Have you ever been to Brooklyn? What are your thoughts on it?
I would like to spend a lot of time in Brooklyn.  I have lot’s of family on the east coast that I need to be better at visiting and communicating with so hopefully there will be a Brooklyn trip in my near-future.  Fall on the east coast is beautiful and would be my favorite time to visit your city.

 

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

Photo ©Ryan Johnson

One Response to “Best of Instagram: Ryan Johnson”

  1. Nick Baker says:

    Being a personal friend of Ryan (probably his best :-P), I will say it has been truly exciting to see him get this sort of recognition for work he’s truly passionate for and loves.

    From being in his early movie clips, it was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. The transition to photography was equally exciting, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him.

    -Nick