Graham Ryan has been taking photographs since she was a child. It first started with Polaroid’s, disposable 35 mm and 110 mm cameras. Never one to take just portraits of friends and family, she has been capturing strangers, innate objects and nature from the beginning. She has learned not to see photographs only through a camera lens, or art only with her eyes, but to allow herself to feel and imagine the story, to spend time with a painting, to view a photograph, and close her eyes and allow herself to transfer visions and colors to taste, smell, imagine the texture or the sound. In turn this awakens emotions such as love, hate, happiness, sadness, anger, loneliness, to be felt from the heart.
In 1978 when she was 16 and graduated from high school; her father gave her $500 to do what she pleased. What pleased her was her first real 35 mm camera, the Nikon FM. Even today, she feels it was the best purchase she ever made. Her world expanded to a more intimate world, close-ups, capturing live concerts, travel, the world beautiful, sad, angry, real and imaginary. During this time, Graham worked a number of years in photofinishing, printing odd size film, 35mm, 126 mm, 110 mm, damaged negatives, law enforcements film, correcting peoples mistakes and reprinting film shot incorrectly. She learned about hues, color balance, exposures, and format, and to view life through the other people’s perceptions. Today, she continues to experiment with light, technology, print material and her imagination.
Graham has little interest in studio portrait photography; her aim is to initiate the five senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and hearing to the viewer. The color, texture and format use for printing, and, of course, the photograph accomplish this. Allowing a photograph to be printed in different sizes on different material creates many different photographs of one print.
Although Graham is very much an adult with life long experiences, those that know her well, know she also has the child-like quality of seeing and experiencing life. Most people become adults and only view life as an adult. As a society we are taught at a certain age we should only think like an “adult”. Antoine De Saint-Exupéry expressed it best in the dedication of The Little Prince, “All grown-ups were children first. (But few of them remember it).”
If you look at Graham’s photography and only see a picture of a flower, landscape, person, etc., then you have failed to truly see the photograph. Take your time, look at the photographs, close your eyes, and feel with your heart, does the photograph stir an emotion past or present experienced? Allow you mind to imagine, create a story; remember the smell of roses, the feel of heat, the taste of a fresh picked berry, the sound of water. Allow the child creativity within awaken and then take another look, and then another. Become the visual artist.
“Here is my secret. It’s quite simple: One sees clearly only with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.” Antoine De Saint-Exupéry The Little Prince