Ryan Smith is a young Australian who can't stand still. Bouncing between the frozen regions of northern Europe, the whale migration paths of Tonga, and the divine coastline of the Mediterranean, Ryan shoots his way across the world and through all the interesting situations he finds himself in...
1. Who are you?
I'm Ryan Smith, a 26 year old human being hailing from the Gold Coast of Australia.
2. Describe your medium & process for your work…
It's hard to define specifically... Photography can be so broad and I always think I should hone in on one area and let go of some others, but I honestly struggle to not document everything I'm doing. I often see my photographs more as visual notes of a time or place. I'll never remember all the things I do so documenting everything serves me with all the reminders I'll ever need to remember those people, places or endeavors.
3. How did you find your passion? Who/what influences your work?
I found my passion during my high school years. All my friends were better at me than surfing and skateboarding (amongst most other things) so I decided to put my ambition to be great at those things on the back burner and just document them being good at it instead. That led to documenting punk/hardcore shows and as I grew older and started going on tours with bands I developed a love for travel and documenting travels quickly became my strongest passion. If I were to list everything or everyone that inspires me this would be a really long email so I'll have to omit a few but right now the biggest influence to me is the Pacific Ocean. I feel lucky to live on the East Coast of Australia where you could have perfect waves one week then perfect dive conditions the next week. The energy and many moods of the ocean is definitely a heavy influence. A close second would be my peers. I'm always inspired by the things I see my friends do and create. I wouldn't have been able to produce half the photographs I have without their constant influence and inspiration.
4. What excites you about your work? What do you struggle with?
The thing that excites me about my work is the situations that it forces me into to execute the idea I have in my head for a photograph. Maybe it's diving to a new depth to get an underwater shot of marine life, maybe it's putting myself in a position where people jump on my head whilst at a show but so long as I have a camera in my hand I can find excitement in almost any kind of chaotic moment. Sometimes I struggle entirely with creativity. It's like I'm 100% on or I'm 100% off. I never feel like there is a middle point. I either have it and like my photographs or I don't have it and I want to throw my camera in the trash. Another lesser known big struggle for me is anxiety in the ocean and more particularly big waves which has over time intensified and consequently dampened the flame I originally had for shooting surfing but I've been working on that in a few different ways and hopefully in a few months time I'll be fearless.
5. What are your goals? Where do you see yourself going?
I really just want to keep documenting everything. I'd like to further define myself as a photographer and really put in work to create something that could inspire people to live their lives rather than sitting and wishing they could be doing something different to what they're doing. I'm not endorsing the whole "hey just quit your job and live your dream" ideology because I know that's a fabricated reality that is unachievable for most people, but it definitely doesn't hurt to throw yourself in the deep end once in a while. I try not to think too far into the future because it scares the hell out of me but I'll say I see myself spending a lot of time in the ocean and putting more hours into my work as well as putting more things into physical form as I feel it's always cherished much more than a quick double tap and a scroll past.