As you may know, Exposure Leeds and it’s members are linked with the current Leeds through a lens exhibition at Leeds Gallery in Munro House. We thought it would be good to meet and talk to some of the other photographers who are new to our audience about their part in the show.
Here we begin with Ryan Learoyd…
Ryan, thanks for agreeing to the interview – let’s start with; how long have you been making photographs – and how did you first get into it?
My love of photography has always existed & my adoration of the still image is merely an extension of my passion for film. I went to uni in York and studied a BA in Film and TV production which strangely gave me my calling within still imagery. I began to capture behind the scenes using video lighting rigs. I found it astounding how a story could be told within a single frame. I bought my first DSLR, shot some film and was hooked.
How did you make the selection for Leeds Gallery – was it an easy choice or..?
Reality Bites - Just another Leeds business left in ruin. Broken glass and weathered brick, empty halls and desks. A stark reality of the fast moving financial climate in the UK. © Ryan Learoyd. All Rights Reserved.
Making my selection for the ‘Leeds Through a Lens’ exhibition came surprisingly easy. My first and favourite shot submitted to the gallery is ‘Reality Bites’ taken in Holbeck. There’s something about when I finished processing the shot that made me want to hang it on my wall. Not because of the stark financial times the image communicates, but because of how it connects with me on a more personal level. I will get home from the day job, turn on the computer, load up some images and that print is hanging just above my desk. It kind of makes me smile, this is my true ‘Reality’, my dream, an image which reflects what I strive to become. I felt all three of my submissions worked well as a collective. All were shot in a similar area and mirrored in some sense how I felt about the city, sometimes bleak, sometimes beautiful, sometimes unseen.
Why did you take part?
I love my city, I grew up in Leeds and still live within the city centre. Throughout the years I have watched my home change for the better and sometimes for the worse. When I heard of ‘Leeds Through a Lens’ I was excited for the opportunity to have my work displayed alongside some of the cities best image makers. Within every creative mind there is a different perspective, and it is with this that the most enticing bodies of work are created. Leeds through a lens is made of 15 different photographers including myself – a mish-mash of creative outlooks upon the city we call home.
I see you also operate commercially – in what way does your personal work differ from that which others commission from you?
Short answer, it doesn’t… Long answer, I always shoot what I love. The minute I stop doing that means it’s time to put the camera away. It doesn’t matter if it’s personal work, weddings or commercial imagery. That’s why I believe in displaying my fine art & travel photography alongside my wedding portfolio. The same subtleties in meaning and passion for colour are apparent throughout all of my work. My style is spontaneous, bold, graphic and creative. I believe in capturing those fleeting moments of emotion, expression, love. I would like to think I specialise in not having a speciality, it keeps me on my toes and hunting for that next great photo.
How do you feel about the exhibition?
First of all the exhibition has been fantastic, it’s given a lot of photographers there first chance at exhibiting work to the public. Plus to see their photos alongside the cities best is truly a great feeling. The work of Joe Stenson, Peter Mitchell and Ricky Adam were the ones that blew me away. It’s incredible to see the sense of variety and intensity in subjects which our home city provides.
Where next for you? Where do you see your work going next – or any further exhibitions planned?
I’m always on the look out for further exhibitions, but at the moment my work is finding its place in wedding photography. I specialise in affordable contemporary reportage style wedding photography in Leeds, York and the Yorkshire area. Of course my fine art and travel photography doesn’t take a back seat. It’s riding up front with the rest of the gang, that’s me, my camera and my love for the moment.
You can find Ryan’s work in Leeds Gallery, alongside the other photographers, until May 16th. Please also view his extended online portfolio of Leeds images. To contact Ryan, visit his website.