When I first started shooting digital way back in 2003 I often edited on the back of my camera. I deleted images that I didn’t think worked so I could fill my single 512 MB card full of as many jpeg’s as my D100 could throw at it. And let me just say I thought it was awesome.
Over the years I heard various photographers talk about never deleting any images, to shoot digital like film and initially I thought they weren’t fully utilizing some of the benefits of shooting digitally. Over the past few years I have fully embraced the “don’t delete” based on what you see in camera philosophy and I wanted to share a recent example of where it helped me.
On a recent trip to Arizona I spent a day or two with my family hiking around Sedona. As usual my camera went with me and I casually snapped shots as inspiration struck. I took a shot without metering appropriately (I said casually) and it is a frame in the past I would have quickly deleted. However this time I simply took another frame at the correct exposure and realized that I preferred the image overexposed and I moved on.
I hadn’t thought about the frame until I was going through the images from the trip today. I spent some time with it in post and it is an image that I really enjoy.
So ease off that delete button you never know when a mistake might be a success in disguise.more...
Outside of my close friends and family that read this blog I doubt many of you know that I used to teach high school history. For six years in three different schools I spent my days talking about the generations that proceeded us and how they helped shape our lives and our country.
Over the holidays we sadly lost an influential piece of our family history as my wife’s Grandfather passed away at the age of 89. Kenneth Haines was a member of the Greatest Generation, a veteran of World War II who served his country in both the European and Pacific theatre of the war. The imprint of his life and the sacrifices he made will powerfully effect my family for generations to come.
I met Grandpa Haines for the first time when I was only seventeen years old and started dating his granddaughter (my future wife). He was intimidating but I grew to understand his personality was a great mixture of tough and also tender. When I transitioned out of teaching and into photography he always took the time to ask how my business was doing (perhaps out of concern for his granddaughter) but more likely because as a small business owner himself he understood the challenges that I was facing. He would end every conversation I had with him by simply telling me “Ryan I wish you the best.” I will really miss hearing that.
In the summer of 2005 I set up a time to formally photograph him. We pulled out his Army uniform and to my surprise he was able to squeeze into his old jacket. I did a quick and simple setup in the backyard of his home in Lee’s Summit, Missouri shooting only four frames on a “4 x 5″ camera. I think you can see both the tough and the tender aspect of his personality in these two images.
Looking back at these photographs and others in the preparation for his funeral I was so thankful that I have these images of him.
In many ways these images sum up what I hope to do with my camera and why I was drawn to History. Ultimately I love stories and I want to help people document their stories and share them with the world.
To Grandpa Haines I simply say thank you…more...
Meet Travis Crall the man behind Silver Screen Salon a hair salon based in the heart of the Crossroads Arts District of Kansas City. Shot and directed by Ryan Nicholson. Edited by Steve Hagelman.more...
Back in November I had the opportunity to photograph Staley High School quarterback (and Mizzou signee) Trent Hosick for Wendy’s. Trent was a National Finalist for Wendy’s High School Heisman and Wendy’s wanted images for his online profile and for the actual award program in New York City (they give out the award in a big ceremony in NYC the same weekend as the Heisman awards ceremony).
The shoot was broken into two parts first I shot some game action of Trent as well as the surprise announcement immediately after the game recognizing his selection as one of the 12 National Finalists for the Wendy’s High School Heisman.
Shooting football took me back in time to one of my first regular gigs shooting high school Football in Phoenix. It was a lot of fun wandering the sidelines and watching Trent do his thing.
Celebrating a rushing touchdown:
After the announcement of the award Trent received a Gatorade bath from his offensive line:
The following day my assistant and I got to spend the day following Trent around school shooting a mixture of photo journalistic “day in the life of” images as well as a couple stage portrait scenarios that yielded my favorite images from the day:
It was a great shoot with a great subject. Trent is the real deal and I look forward to seeing where his talents and hard work take him. You can learn more about Trent and the award here:more...
It was almost a year ago that I moved into roadway studio. The studio has been a lot of work and a lot of fun occasionally at the same time. But today I was thinking back even further to the time when I first started shooting in Phoenix. I didn’t have a studio just a small home office with a busted up old Compaq computer. I made up for my lack of technology by putting together a “working” darkroom in my garage. I say “working” because I could only print at night because during the day there were too many light leaks. The garage was often hot (no air conditioning) and always had an odor made up of equal parts fumes and fixer.
My favorite spot to shoot was actually at an underpass close to I-17 and Bell Road. Often times I actually met clients at the Denny’s restaurant next to the underpass. I still remember talking with one client on the phone who got really quiet when I told him we would be meeting at Denny’s. I remember having to say “trust me” quite a bit in those days. So my clients would have a place to sit I carried an old wooden lawn chair that was lightweight so I could throw it over my shoulder along with my camera bag and a reflector. Shoots were often interrupted by people streaming by on their bicycles or by honking car horns.
Despite all those things in the end my clients got what they needed mainly because there was good light to be found at the underpass. I was smart enough to at least recognize the importance of light.
And while a lot of things have certainly changed for me and the type of photographs I am producing in very simple terms I am still doing the same thing. Trying to make people comfortable no matter the circumstances, getting them in the “right” light, and coaxing them to share a little bit of themselves with me.more...
So I didn’t quite keep to my daily post of tear sheets for a week sometimes real life assignments get in the way of virtual assignments.
However for the first time on the blog I am sharing a tear sheet literally on the day that it is published. From today’s Wall Street Journal. The article includes two of my portraits of former Hostess worker Craig Davis.
After seeing all the online reaction to Hostess closing their doors it was really interesting to meet and chat with Craig who had worked for Hostess for over twenty years. As I have said many times previously and will say again very soon I love that my camera takes me to unexpected places to meet and learn from people that I would have never met otherwise.
To Craig I say thank you for sharing a good part of your day with me and best luck on your next step.
I think this last shot which didn’t run in the article sums up the experience of the shoot nicely:
This post was supposed to go out yesterday but ironically I ran out of time to post it because I landed a last minute assignment from the Wall Street Journal that had me on the road to Emporia, Kansas.
I shot this piece for the Journal back in September which features architect Earl Santee one of the principals of the firm Populous. Shooting this assignment gave me the opportunity to shoot at Kauffman Stadium but ultimately the paper chose to run a image of Earl that we shot back at his office which was the right choice.
One of my regular editorial clients is Kansas City Business magazine. One of the features I have shot for them over the past two years is called “The Daily Grind” which in simple terms features people with non traditional jobs. These assignments have taken me everywhere from a mobile cupcake/coffee food truck to a gentlemen called the “Junk King” that owns a junk removal business. All of these assignments and people behind them have been interesting but I have to say the last two “Daily Grinds” were truly unique experiences.
Up first the fine folks from Local Ruckus a new start up in Kansas City. Here is the tear sheet:
The folks from Local Ruckus were one of the funnest groups I have ever had the pleasure to photograph. Just a couple glorious outtakes:
Their site is really great resource for what is happening in Kansas City and I wish them much success.
Check em’ out here and “Get off the couch and do the Local thing!”more...
A few months ago Fortune Magazine sent me to Sprint World Headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas to photograph a Sprint employee for a Special Advertising Section in the magazine. Here is the tear sheet which includes two of my photographs.
The special section featured companies that target veterans for employment with their companies. The piece featured veterans from companies like Coca Cola, The Hartford, and my subject from Sprint.
It is always an honor to photograph a veteran and this scenario was no different. I photographed my subject Dale in both military and civilian attire .
A couple of my favorite selects that didn’t make the final cut: