May 15, 2021

Ep 28 – How photography took Ryan Dyar life around from a college dropout working a dead-end job to world-class landscape photographer

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The Art of Photography
The Art of Photography
Ep 28 - How photography took Ryan Dyar life around from a college dropout working a dead-end job to world-class landscape photographer

Hey Wicked Hunters,

You might notice that I was MIA for 2 weeks, I had a stressful move from Canada to Indonesia. 

But I am very excited to introduce to you Ryan Dyar. He’s an extraordinary photographer who has such inspiring stories behind his journey. 
 He shared the story on how photography gave him a purpose in life and turned his life around – from getting discharged from the military, a college dropout working a dead-end job to a world-renown landscape photographer. 

He shared one of the most inspiring journeys I’ve ever encountered from photographers so far, so make sure you listen till the end!

If you want to learn more about Liz’s work, you can find it here:

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Don’t forget to leave a review on the podcast if you enjoy this conversation, it would help us to get found and help to inspire other photographers. 



Ryan Dyar  0:00  
I’m at a dead end job wasn’t making a lot of money, you know, just kind of bored. And I was, I had been discharged from the military, working my crappy job dropped out of college four times. And yeah, I just kind of had no direction in life. And, you know, picked up a camera and it became this reason to travel, it became a reason to go hiking. You know, it just it gave you at least me it gave me a sense of purpose. Like he said that

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  0:43  
hey, wicked hunters Welcome back to The Art of Photography podcast, where we share our passion and share how photography helped give us hope, purpose, and happiness. And today I have a photographer who’s been in the business for such a long time, and he is crushing it. Ryan Dyer. How’re you doing? Ryan?

Ryan Dyar  1:06  
Doing? Well, man. Thanks. Thanks for having me, bro. Yeah,

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  1:09  
man, like, you know, I heard you on a on a clubhouse. And I came right at the end of it. And I saw your work. And it’s like, Man, I need to talk to this guy. He is just crushing it. And, you know, ever since that, I start watching some of your tutorial. And it’s it’s amazing, you know, the work that you put in your profits. It’s incredible. So do you want to introduce yourself to the listener? And, you know, share a little bit about who is Ryan and what got you all in love with photography?

Ryan Dyar  1:43  
Yeah, I’m just some average landscape photographer from Seattle. Just like to point my camera at stuff. Getting into photography got almost 15 years ago now. Yeah, I was just bored. I was kind of, I lacked any sort of direction in my life. I didn’t have any hobbies, I was just kind of a board human. And I got to a camera’s a gift. And you started taking it with me just on road trips and things like that. taking it with me snowboarding you know, and you just kind of get bit by the bug. You know, some people would pick up a camera, and they never think anything of it. It’s just snapshots to share with family and friends. But there’s a select few of us who pick up a camera, start taking pictures, and then go, oh, this picture was better than that last picture I took I wonder why I like this a little bit more. Or though this picture sucks. I wonder why. And so you start researching photography and looking into it. And for me, it was back in the day finding Flickr. You know, I got on Flickr, and just started seeing Oh, there’s a lot of people who do this type of thing. And they’re really good at it. And how can I get good at this? And um, you know, 15 years later, I’m still sitting here going, how can I get good at this? But um, yeah, it just become became an obsession for me, you know, kind of filled this void I had in my life. So yeah, I mean, it sounds really lame and like, nerdy art guy. But, uh, yeah, just something with a clicked in me, you know what I mean?

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  3:27  
That is awesome. Brian, and, you know, like, this is what the whole podcast is about, you know, like, it’s the same for my journey as well like, photography really give me that purpose. So it’s amazing, you know, to hear that, and you know, to take it to where you are right now. What was like before photography, like, what do you do I know that you say, you know, you were kind of like, lingering around not trying to think what’s next and stuff like that. But yeah, what was life before that?

Ryan Dyar  3:56  
I had a dead end job wasn’t making a lot of money. You know, just kind of bored and I was I had been discharged from the military working my crappy job dropped out of college four times. And yeah, I just kind of had no direction in life. And you know, I picked up a camera and it became this reason to travel it became a reason to go hiking. You know, it just it gave you at least me it gave me a sense of purpose. Like he said that you know, now I have something to focus my energy on instead of just working my shitty job and going home and drinking beers and watching Netflix you know, there was Netflix wasn’t around back then put a watching DVDs back when I used to watch DVDs. Yeah, so it just kind of gave me a passion that I didn’t have for anything else.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  4:58  
That’s That’s amazing. You know, thanks for sharing that. Right? You know, it’s that’s awesome. What so what what can you fall in love with photography? You know what, I know that you got that camera as a gift and you start taking photo and but what was the point in in that journey where you’re like, you know what, this is really awesome and I want to you know pursue this, you know further and I want to get better at it. Is there a turning point anywhere in there? Or is it just a constant of hunger that you want to be off now that I know how to do is I want to be better at it.

Ryan Dyar  5:34  
It was funding Flickr, like I said it was, you know, it was just me with my camera taking these dumb photos of trees or mountains or whatever. And not knowing anything about photography. Actually, I took photography in high school, a 35 millimetre black and white film class. And I skipped class almost every day, and I almost failed the class, but I cheated and passed. I just I thought photography was the lamest thing. I I took it because I thought it’d be an easy a, I was a really bad student. So yeah, I, I was never into photography. I thought it was LAME. But um, you know, I got that camera as a gift. I started snapping photos, not to try to do photography, but just snapping photos. And then I found Flickr, that online community of photographers and started seeing others people who are really good at this. And that was when it clicked for me is, oh, I could learn how to be good at this. And that would be fun. And so yeah, it was just kind of finding great photographers online. And and it kind of sparked that interest in drive to learn what the hell I’m doing with a camera.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  6:49  
That’s cool. Do you have like any, anyone that like was, you know, that you remember as an inspired that you look through, you know, their work, and they’re like, You know what, I want to be able to take that photo or be like him or whatnot.

Ryan Dyar  7:03  
The first guy I remember seeing and really loving his work, who was Michael Anderson. He’s Colorado based, but he had taken many trips to the Himalaya. And those photos he had back then it must have been 2007 When I came across them. And I just fell in love with his work. And so that was the guy I looked at, like, Oh, this guy’s awesome. And look how he frames his photos and, and his composition is just everything made me fall in love with his work. I still love his work to this day. But um, that was kind of the main guy. But I’d also always loved oil painters, Thomas Cole, Albert Bierstadt, I grew up watching Bob Ross on on public broadcasting channel, the guy with the afro paints the happy little trees. If when I was younger, I tried to oil paint and I sucked at I’ve got no no reason to be holding a paintbrush ever. But um, I tried to oil paint when I was younger, and I couldn’t. But I still loved landscape oil painters. And so I took a lot of inspiration from you know, the those classic guys like Albert Bierstadt and the way he handled light in an atmosphere and stormy conditions and, and transitions from really dark areas in a scene to really bright areas. That that was instilled as a huge inspiration to me.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  8:43  
That’s cool. You know, it’s really interesting to hear your story and you know, you sharing this, the struggles early on in your life, you know, and it seems like you want it to be artistic and creative, but it felt like you know, it was a struggle that it was a barrier that you felt like you can’t get there and I’m sure there are a lot of people in the listeners right now thinking like you know, I love photography but you know, I’m just not cut up or I’m not creative or whatever it may be and you know that that is something that goes through a lot of our head and thinking about that we’re not good enough you know, we’re not like this guys in Instagram that make this awesome photos. Was there a moment in time where you know, you become comfortable or you become confident that this is something that you can do and what makes you feel like you know, you can excel in photography and what can the listeners who have who are in this situation right now you know back when you were you were there can take out of your journey to help them push across this mindset that stopped them to pursue this Passion?

Ryan Dyar  10:01  
Well, I think photography as an art form is easier to get into than most types of art Well, yes, there is some, some people are very naturally talented with, with a camera. But I don’t think you need natural talent to become a great photographer. Photography is one of those things I think anybody can learn to be good at it with enough practice and patience and, and investing in knowledge. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s not like becoming some God on a guitar, some Eddie Van Halen type level guitar player. That’s the dip, most people will never be able to get there. But with a camera, I mean, it’s, there’s these set rules that if you follow these rules to composition and colour, and transitions, and light, you can you can be a good photographer, there’s people out there who follow those rules, and then somehow take it, you know, 20 steps further and become these legends. But, you know, there’s people like me who I’m not naturally talented with a camera or with Photoshop, you know, I’ve just invested a shit tonne of time, you know, so. And the other cool thing is that, I mean, you never stopped learning in any art form, it doesn’t matter what it is. You never reach the pinnacle of what you can do. You know, I’m 15 years into it, I’m still learning new things. Every year that I go, Oh, crap, I never thought about it this way. Or, you know, you try something new and processing you try something new compositionally. You know, if it’s an ever evolving journey until you decide you’re not interested anymore, or you die, I mean, it’s, if you’re really in love with photography, then you just stick with it. And you’ll always be learning something. And you don’t have to be naturally gifted, to become good at what you do with the camera.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  12:16  
Yeah, so that’s incredible. And you know, like, hopefully, a lot of a lot of you who are listening to this, who are thinking that you’re not good enough to take that into heart. And you know, if that’s if photography is something you enjoy, you heard it yourself from Brian, who’s, you know, I think we can agree that he has made a good success out of his, his photography journey.

Ryan Dyar  12:38  
But the other thing is, is, is early on, it’s easy to look at other people’s work, compare it to your own, and then feel like oh, shit, I’m, I’m not as good as that guy, I’m not as good as that girl. I’m not, I’m not good enough to be able to, to, I’m not good enough to keep doing this, I should just give up. That that’s the wrong way of looking at other people’s work. In my opinion. It’s easy to look at people’s work and compare it to your own and feel bummed out. The healthy way to do it is to look at other people’s work, and go, This is what I like about their work, and how can I take that and then spin that as my own thing, or take inspiration from the work instead of just comparing going there doing this awesome stuff? I’m not that makes me feel bad. Look at people’s work objectively, I like this about their photos, I don’t like this about their photos, and let that inspire your own work. You know, it’s, I’ve always said in interviews like this that I treat. There’s a lot of talk in the industry, or whatever this little community of landscape photographers is about people copying each other’s work and all that. And I’ve always said that, you know, when, when you first sit down to learn how to play guitar, you don’t write music, right? You you sit down with a guitar and you learn how to play Smoke on the Water with doing one of the most popular simple riffs of all time on guitar. You and you just kind of learn other people’s music until you become proficient enough at your craft to be able to write music is the same thing with photography, you know, you know, take your camera out, take inspiration from other people’s work, combine everything you’d like from all the photos you see. You kind of create your own Frankenstein monster out of it and piece together your own style and your own thing you want to do you know so, you know, I don’t like a lot of the crap talk that goes on with younger photographers by more advanced photographers, saying how they’re just copying everybody else because that’s what artists do in the beginning. They didn’t know artists sits down for the first time and create something insane Only good without any inspiration, you know? So

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  15:04  
thanks for sharing that, Ryan. You know, I wish this is something that I was, I heard earlier on my photography journey. You know, I think, for a lot of people who kind of just started as well, I’m hearing that, you know, it’s not, sometimes when you start it, you just don’t know, right? You know, what you know, and what you say there about, you know, taking inspiration from other people work and looking at what, what you like out of it and make it your own. That is such a great, you know, just phrase and it’s inspiration, that little sentence itself, because the key is, take the inspiration, you know, like, copying is, you know, it’s sure, like you might want to do like, the populars framing, we all do that. But, you know, taking that next step of taking the different aspects of that photography and creating your own, that’s where you can differentiate yourself and create something that you actually proud of. That’s, yeah, that’s, that’s an amazing advice that you just shared there. I’m creating Thursday, in terms of, you know, just talk about, you know, creating a photo that is like you need this yourself, you have any photo that, you know, that you are most proud of, in terms of you felt like that was the photo that you know, that you that was yours, or you know, photo that, yes, like, I absolutely take this, when you see this, this photo, do you have any photo in mind

Ryan Dyar  16:33  
that you I have, I have maybe five of those in my entire portfolio that I look at, and I go, this is what I want to do, this is what I’m striving to make and I did it. But the first time I’d ever got one of those photos was in 2000 is 2008 or 2009 in Glacier National Park. And it just everything came together perfectly I was I found this scene that that I hadn’t seen photographed before this nice waterfall leading down this hill you know, grassy mid ground with big heads a Bear Bear grass growing up, it’s like these big stocky flowers. And then off into the background of these peaks and a waterfall coming down and, and I remember finding that and shooting it and getting incredible light. And going this is what I had been striving for. And I nailed it. That and the memories from that day I was sitting there by myself in this waterfall, watching this crazy light go off. And then there were there were mountain goats walking by, like coming within a couple of feet and just sitting there and watching them then looking at the light and taking my photos and it was just this all encompassing moment of this, this is this is why I do this. You know and and to have that experience early on. That was one of the moments in my career. Now that this is a career for me, that that kept me motivated and kept me stoked on photography. And I think those it’s interesting, there was probably five photos I have that I think are like really make a statement about what I’m trying to do with the camera. All of those photos also have incredible memories attached to them. And so maybe it’s it’s weird and lame as it sounds you like trying to be some deep artist or whatever. I think it’s interesting that the photos I think are my standout moments with the camera all have really good personal memories attached to them you know and so, so maybe I think they’re really good photos and other people might not but I get emotionally attached to certain photographs of mine just because I remember the place I remember the smells I remember what was going on in my life at the time. You know, maybe I was struggling with something or maybe I was really stoked on something. The I get personally attached to those photos and and those five that I have that are my favourites all have really good memories attached to them, you know?

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  19:28  
Yeah, that’s interesting. I feel the same way about my photography most of my photography that are really love or have really amazing like memories attached to it. Just out of curiosity, do you find that? You know like going back to what you say like you really love that. But is that you know, is that what your audience love? Or do you tend to find that your audience like more like your photo that are more relatable? What I mean by that is like a photo that are more in A popular landscape and stuff like that. Yeah.

Ryan Dyar  20:03  
I I always think the, the viewers don’t connect with an image the same way we connect to their images just because we have those memories of shooting them. And maybe we accomplished something with that photo that we’re trying to do that. Nobody else knows we’re trying to do this thing with this photo. Yeah, so I, you know, that’s why I don’t pay too much attention to likes and comments and things like that, because you get too wrapped up in that you start shooting for likes and comments and thinking about, Okay, well, this will do well on Instagram. I try not to think about that ever at all. I just do what I like to do. It’s to the point where now, I don’t even look at a lot of photography anymore. One because I, I’ve looked at so much photography and been inspired by so much over the years that I’ve kind of got my own thing, you know, I have found my own way of doing things in my own style. And while Yeah, it’s still good to find influences here and there. I’m also at the point in my career where I want, I don’t want a lot of outside influence anymore. You know, I want to influence my own path, you know, I’ve gotten proficient with my tools. And now I kind of want to, you know, taking it back to the music analogy, I’ve gotten proficient with with my instrument, and now I can write music. So that’s kind of the stage I’m at now is I don’t want to have a lot of outside influence. But um, yeah, I don’t look at Instagram a bunch. I don’t look at photography websites a lot. And part of that is I don’t want to shoot in a way that I think is going to be the biggest mass appeal. In I don’t want a tonne of outside influence. So So yeah, I I definitely don’t think about the viewer. When I’m taking the photo, it the only thing I think about is, how is this composition going to help hold somebody’s attention within the frame? That’s the only thing I think about.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  22:21  
Yeah, that’s, that’s a really interesting perspective there. I know, I struggle a lot with that, you know, especially on my first second year of my photography journey, you know, looking at those awesome photos, it really you write it like it takes me to this path. I was like, Wow, that’s awesome. A mastic you know, photo like this. Yeah. So like finding that balance is all it’s really hard. But one thing that I really like about what you say there is, you know, like, you’re you’re talking about the photo that you one of those favourite photo that you still remember that smell and the feeling unit. And we know that photography is the medium right photo is a speaks 1000 words as well, people say it’s a medium to share those stories. And you just mentioned that you’re thinking about how your composition can hold and share those stories to your audience and, you know, being able to convey the emotion that you have. So I’m, I’d like to hear a little bit about, you know, what are some of the ways that you find really useful and effective that you do in order to be able to convey that the emotion and the story behind behind the camera, when you actually experience it yourself? at that particular moment.

Ryan Dyar  23:43  
I’m a very emotionally stunted human. I don’t really I don’t look at it so much as I’m trying to convey some emotion or some deep thing. For me, it’s just about sharing my interpretation of a scene, you know, what they were what I looked at the scene and go, This is why I like this place. And I’ll try to put that into a photo I don’t I don’t get too deep into the meaning behind the photo thing. A lot of people get really deep into that, and I’m just not emotionally intelligent enough. I don’t think to consider those things in my work. Yeah, for me, it’s just about trying to find a way to keep somebody’s eye in the frame as long as I can. And so that’s using things like leading lines or balancing foreground subjects, lines that lead off into a mid ground and then that mid ground somehow ties into the background. So it’s just about keeping the eye moving throughout the frame from front to back in the slowest way possible, if that makes sense. You know, I I think the biggest thing people overlook in compositions are mid grounds, mid grounds, to me are so important. So all of my photos that I think will work the best all have really strong mid grounds, it’s easy to draw it to, like a mountain scene, and go, Oh, here’s, here’s some flowers, and there’s a mountain in the background, and you snap the photo and walk away and you’ve got a decent shot. But without any mid ground, tying the foreground and background together, it’s just flowers, mountains, done nothing else to look at. It while I used to shoot a lot of scenes like that, and that was like, my bread and butter is I just, I found a cool looking mountain, I found some interesting flowers, and I got really low and wide and, and shot the scene of just flowers and mountains. And it makes a nice pretty photo. But it it’s also very straightforward. It’s not complex at all. And so, you know, these past several years I’ve really been focusing on on mid ground and how to tie a foreground into a mid ground and a mid ground into a background. Just to keep the viewer interested in there’s more to look at, and especially like bigger prints, you know, mid ground doesn’t, you know, you can’t convey it very well on Instagram on, you know, on your iPhone. But in bigger prints, those are the things that I’d like to look at. And a big print is all the little interesting details in the mid ground and background. You know, if I’m, if I’ve got a big print on my wall, the foreground flowers aren’t going to be when I walk up to the print and look closely at you know, I’m looking closer. There’s a little waterfall back in the background or look at that little lake that’s down there in the mid ground. So that’s kind of what I’m focusing on lately. And again, it’s not me trying to tell some emotional story. It’s just me trying to hold the viewers eye as long as I can. You know what I mean?

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  26:58  
It’s that’s really interesting. I know that, you know, a lot of landscape photographer are focused on the foreground, right? You know, most people say it’s like, oh, yeah, make sure you find a good foreground. But yeah, that’s, I think you’re the first person that says, you know, find an interesting mid ground. That’s really interesting.

Ryan Dyar  27:18  
Good foreground. So very important, if you’re shooting wide angle stuff. You know, the foreground is how we it’s how we enter a scene, you know, it’s how you feel like you can walk into it, you know, you know, long lens does it say you take a 300 millimetre shot of a mountain with some interesting clouds and what you don’t feel like you’re walking into that scene, the same way you do with big, wide angle, like grand landscapes. So foregrounds are super important, for sure. Because that’s how we that’s how we enter the scene. But um, you want something to look at beyond entering the scene, you want them to go, Okay, where am I going past this foreground? If that makes sense?

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  27:59  
Yeah, that’s, that’s really cool. So in terms of the photo that really excites you the most you have a particular scenery or, you know, or genre, I suppose, in landscape photography that you you that excite you the most. I know you do a whole bunch of different stuff from seascape you know, you do a lot of mountains as well as like, you know, storm chasing with which, which is high on my bucket list, but I my plan got got shut down by COVID Last year, unfortunately. But yeah, like, is there any any part of it that really excites you that you know, if there was one that you could choose? Which one would that

Ryan Dyar  28:41  
be? Mountains, easy mountains, if if I could only shoot one one subject for the rest of my life, it would be mountains I think that’s because that’s when I first started shooting. If that was me taking my my camera with me snowboarding, it I grew up in Portland, you know, just 30 minutes away from Mount Hood, pretty much. And so snowboarding was a huge part of my childhood in my teens and early 20s. I’m too old and fragile for it now at 37. But um, yeah, that’s, that’s where I love to spend my time when I was younger is in the mountains. And so I think that just translated into photography for me. It also mountains are pretty easy to photograph, I find it’s a lot easier than easier than photographing a desert or a seascape. So maybe, maybe I choose that because it’s easier than everything else. And I’m a lazy photographer. But um, yeah, I just love the mountains. And when I first made a trip to Glacier National Park, in Montana with a camera that was like, huge. I thought, you know, because I’ve been shooting In Canada, my local mount on Mount Mount Hood Mount St. Helens Mount Adams just here in the Pacific Northwest Mount Rainier. But um going to the Rockies and shooting the Rockies for the first time was life changing for me it Glacier National Park is still a place I go to all the time. Still have fun photographing it. Still have you know, new places out there I want to see in photograph. So yeah, it for me the mountains all day, every day. If I had to choose one, that would be

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  30:35  
awesome. Yeah, like, you know, a spent two years here now almost. Yeah, a little over two years in, in the Rockies. And I know exactly what you mean. It’s it’s funny, because when I was I used to do a portrait here. I would take their photos and and they would send it to their families. And they think it’s a it’s a green screen. It’s

Ryan Dyar  30:56  
beautiful. That is the Canadian Rockies up there. Just gorgeous. I was supposed to be back last year again. And, you know, they don’t let us Americans over the border anymore. But uh, hopefully later this year, we’ll see.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  31:10  
Fingers crossed, hopefully. Yeah, hopefully like, Yeah, I can’t wait until he can travel again. Yeah, me too. That’d be awesome. So I was reading up on your, on your bio here. And then you know, what, one of the thing that you wrote here was that, you know, photography had helped you guide towards being a better human. So I think that’s really cool to hear that. And if you could, like, you know, elaborate and share with us, you know, how does photography have impacted you? I know, we can touch base on you know, how it gives you like, purpose and stuff like that. But is there anything more to it than that? Yeah. So.

Ryan Dyar  31:53  
So I was a, I was an opiate addict when I was younger. And, and when I got clean from drugs, that’s when I picked up a camera. I had this void in my life that was, you know, drugs Once filled, and then no longer filled. And so it was just kind of trying to figure out what the hell I’m going to do in my life, you know, dead end job, you know, didn’t have a lot of friends anymore. You know, because all the friends I had were drug users. And so I had to cut them out of my life. And I picked up the camera and started travelling, and then yeah, kind of filled this void and gave me a sense of purpose and something to do while being sober. And then I kind of grew up with a camera in a way, you know, I was, I was a young adult, you know, it was in my 20s. But I started a lot of growing up to do and yes, I mean it through photography. I met my best friend in the world. Myles Morgan. Don’t let him know I said that about him. He’s, uh, yeah, the the, my best friend of the world who on paper, he and I should not be best friends. But I was this newly sober snowboarder, kind of punk rock dude. And he was 13 years older airline pilot, very successful well to do, man and, and we met through photography, just, you know, we met up in Mount Hood one day, and just hit it off. And, you know, 15 years later, he was the best man in my in my wedding. I was the best man at his wedding. So I met him and he was he was this well to do man who I looked up to, I still look up to a lot, but I’m kind of, okay, yeah, it’s time to grow up. You know, I’ve, I’ve got to be more of an adult now. And so having his kind of guidance and friendship and mentorship in Life helped a lot and that I met my wife through photography. You know, she’s choosing photography. She commented on one of my posts on Facebook who long time ago, and then as creepy man does, I was like, Oh, cute chick comment on my stuff. And I looked at her profile and then responded to her comments just because I’m a piece of shit. But yeah, we just got to talking on Facebook about about oil painters of all things is not about photography, but photography is kind of how we connect it. And yeah, and so now I have this wife and this family and my wife is actually the reason I’m doing this for a living in 2012. I moved up to Seattle with with my then girlfriend, my now wife was having trouble finding work. You know, I always work kind of crappy dead end jobs. And I couldn’t find work for a long time. She was supporting the family. After we moved, and we got it, we got into a big argument one night, like one of those really big blowout arguments you have in a relationship. And it was because I was so frustrated about not finding work and not contributing to the family like I should be. And she was a pianist, you try to do photography for a living. And I thought that was the stupidest idea I’ve ever heard. She said, Well, what else are you gonna do? That’s, that’s the one thing you have that you’re, you’re good at. And if you try it, just see what happens it, it can’t hurt. And so I’ve reluctantly decided to try it. And it’s almost 10 years later now, and I’m, you know, this is my career, it’s I pay my bills, I pay for my house. And, and, yeah, so I don’t think photography was what helped me in my life. It was the relationships I made through photography, that, uh, that really changed my Maya, my path in life, you know what I mean?

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  36:06  
That is incredible. Right? Wow. You know, thanks for opening up and sharing them. That’s, uh, I know that, you know, I’ve heard stories of people going to finding photography and get to the, you know, their addiction as well. But, you know, hearing it firsthand from somebody who, who make a full time and a successful career out of it, such an inspiration and, yeah, that is incredible. Appreciate. I know, it’s not easy to, to open up like that. And, yeah, appreciate. So. I know that there’s a lot of people out there who are thinking about, you know, pursuing their career, they might be, you know, on the same situation of, you know, like, I’m not enjoying what I’m doing. And, you know, this, this, this, this nine to five, or whatever they doing is not, it’s not doesn’t really spark their life, and they wanted something more out of it. What are your thoughts and, you know, advice for people who are thinking about pursuing photography, especially landscape photography, you know, like, it’s, it’s considered one of the toughest way to earn a living from, especially when you’re just starting out. So I’d love to hear your your take on that. And your advice,

Ryan Dyar  37:25  
put in the time, pay your dues, get really good at what you do. You know, if, if you’re not creating images that are unique, that stand stand out as your own, you’re going to have a tough time making a living at it, because the market is so saturated, there’s so many photographers right now. And so you have to find a way to make your photographs that are distinctly yours, you have to get good, you have to be, you know, I’m an okay photographer, and I’m able to make a living at it. But, you know, if I was on year 123, of when I was a photographer, I was I was bad, I was a really bad photographer, and I don’t think I could have figured out how to make a living at it. But um, it’s a grind, man. I mean, you’ve got to find your niche and what you do that nobody else is really doing. And focus on that and try to become the best artist you can be. And become so, so different, and so distinctly you that people have to take notice in what you’re doing. Do you know, it’s hard for me. While I’ve had a good career so far, and I’m paying my bills with what I do, being self employed, it’s not easy. The stress of wondering about the future and, you know, paying for your health insurance and you don’t have some company matching your retirement fund, you have to invest in retirement yourself, you have to, you know, worry about the future, okay, 15 years from now, am I still gonna be able to do this for a living, you know, it’s, it’s a very emotionally taxing business to be in being self employed as an artist. Especially, you know, with COVID, like, so many people relied on running tours as their sole source of income, and then COVID happened and those people, Hey, all of a sudden, you’re, you’re out of income for two years, you know, and that’s, that’s terrifying. I’m lucky, you know, tours and workshops, were only a small part of my business. So I’ve been able to maintain throughout this this mess, but um, I’ve seen a lot of people really struggle the past a year. And so it’s If you’re thinking about doing it for a living, really consider the emotional toll it takes on you. It’s, it’s not, it’s not easy, you know, having a guaranteed paycheck, you wake up, you, you punch the clock from nine to five, you know, you’re getting paid, you know, you’ve got health benefits, you know, you’ve got a retirement fund, your boss may be an asshole, but at least you know, from from 5pm to 9am, you don’t have to worry about the company, you don’t have to worry about, you know, the future of the company, you know, you don’t have to be concerned with the company’s revenue. So just really think about it before getting into it for a living because it’s it’s not glitz and glamour. It’s not just going out and shooting all the time. And it’s a lot of stress and worry and planning and business and marketing and, and all that crap that comes with it. So make it work, make it work, because there’s nothing better than getting paid for what you love to do. But there’s also nothing worse than being having the entire company on your shoulders. And going salpa works out and 20 years, we’ll see you know, so yeah, it just just think about it hard before you give up something really good. You’re paying your bills, you’ve got financial security and a future. It’s, it’s hard for me to tell anybody to give that up in pursuit of something really hard to accomplish. You know, I’m a full time college dropout who discharged from the military medically, I work dead end jobs, I’ve got nothing to fall back on if if this doesn’t work, I’ll probably go work in a warehouse somewhere or, you know, go be a waiter somewhere. Who knows. But so, you know, maybe if, if you’re giving up a successful career to try this, maybe you have something to fall back on if it doesn’t work. And so maybe there’s more security there, but I don’t have that sort of security. So it’s a little freaky being being a business owner right now.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  42:11  
Do you find that, you know, that, that, that, that circumstances of not having anything to fall back on one of the keys, you know, to push yourself and make it work and you know, not give up? Because I know like you know, a lot of times, like like you say, you know, this is not an easy thing to do to make you work. But a lot of times when you have a fallback sometimes you know, we think about, well, you know what, if it doesn’t work, I can always have this to fall back on. So you might not put as much effort on it. So just wondering if you think that is part of the key success to your, to your journey.

Ryan Dyar  42:52  
Yeah, I think partly did not having a safety net definitely is a motivator. It keeps you striving and hustling. But um, yeah. I also just think there’s a certain type of person who, who can pull this off. I’m not the type of person I’m talking about, I don’t know how I’m able to make it a career this, I feel incredibly lucky and blessed and, and undeserving. But there’s, there’s certain type A personalities out there who just, they set their minds to something, and they just go do it at any cost. They’ll they’ll just jump headfirst and make it happen no matter what. I’m not that type of person. And so yeah, I think not having the safety net is my big motivator. It’s not because I’m some type A personality who strives for success. This is just my only option for making a living decent living, you know, I can make a crappy living some doing something else. But how to make a decent living, this is my option. So I’ve got to just stay hungry. You know,

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  44:00  
you are so humble. Brian, you know, it’s a lot of how you say that you’re not you’re not made for this, but you make it work anyway. And, you know, I think that’s, that’s a true testament to a lot of people that thing that they might not be able to make it work because if they put the hard work that and the dedication that you do, you know, the results is there, like you know, it’s it’s a proven so it’s, it’s such an inspiring story to listen to that. It’s amazing. Yeah, that’s, that’s awesome. So going back to what you say there, you know, about, you know, like, with the social media and everything’s being out there, it’s really hard to stand out. And now there’s so many good photographers, it’s not it’s not that it’s, it’s not that it’s hard to be a good photographer. It’s actually it’s hard to be to stand out among all these awesome photographers. And you talk about this notion of, you know, like, if that’s something that you want it to do, especially to pursue full time, need to be able to find that this differentiation and that uniqueness that, you know, put yourself aside from other photographers. If you were to go back and you know, to your, to the beginning or you know, during the messy middle of your photography journey, what are the different things that you could share with, with our audience on how to actually create and present that unique perspective or Unique Photo or unique story so that they can differentiate themselves and have more chance to success in this saturated niche?

Ryan Dyar  45:40  
Yeah, I think it’s, it’s like we talked about earlier, it’s, it’s taking bits of inspiration from every photographer, artists you like, for me, a lot of it was taking inspiration from not from landscape photographer, landscape photographers, but from landscape oil painters, just the way they handled light and, and contrast and an atmosphere was different than a lot of people were doing with photography at the time. And so for me, that was kind of how I approached processing my images. And that made me stand out from from other people who were kind of doing similar stuff that I was doing. So yeah, it’s just finding the little things you like in other people’s work, and combining them into this new thing that hasn’t been seen before, you know, maybe this person handles texture in a certain way, that’s interesting. But then this person handles highlights in a way that’s different than what other people are doing. And so you find all these different things that you like, and you can combine them into one thing that nobody else has combined these these things before. So yeah, it’s a lot of just looking at it, a lot of photography and finding what you like and people’s work in and figuring out how to incorporate that into what you do. I think that’s the only way to stand out is to just kind of cherry pick certain things and combine them into this new thing. If that makes sense.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  47:16  
I love how you, you know, take inspiration from oil painters, you know, I think that’s something that a lot of us might not consider. You know, I know when I first heard of that, when you just say earlier, it’s like, wow, that is that is incredible, because, you know, different, different, I suppose, you know, the thing that’s gonna make make make your photo unique is the different perspective and the different thinking. And you got that from from the oil painters as a as an inspiration. So that’s, that’s really cool.

Ryan Dyar  47:44  
Yeah, I urge anybody to go check out our beer starts work. It’s, it’s truly incredible work that I think you can take a lot of inspiration from and put into your photography. So I urge people to check out his stuff.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  48:04  
Awesome, awesome. Yeah, I could definitely get to check him out right afterwards as well. So that’s, that’s awesome. Cool. Right. And it’s been awesome conversation. I’d love to hear your stories, your struggle and how you get here. And it is such a massive inspiration to see the amount of work that you put in your craft and the journey. It’s It’s just incredible story to hear. You know, that whole progress that you do one question, one last question that I want to ask you if there was one thing that you could, you know, give as an advice that you feel like the most important thing that they need to think about to other photographers, whether they just started or you know, they have been in it for a while. What would that one advice be?

Ryan Dyar  48:55  
Hmm. We already talked about mid grounds, so I won’t say that.

Here’s one don’t be afraid to shoot handheld. You tripods are good and all that you know, it’s nice to use a tripod but I see so many people using tripod and I did it for the longest time it wasn’t for it until like the past three or four years that I’ve realised why am I using a tripod it could shoot this handheld shooting handheld more often it’s more freeing it’s easier to find compositions when you’re just walking around handheld with your camera you know if you can shoot at a shutter speed fast enough to to handhold didn’t do it. There’s no reason to use a tripod if you don’t need to. If you’re not blending exposures or focus stacking shoot handheld It is sometimes I’ve been focused on handheld you know the older I get the shaky or my hands are so I don’t do it quite as well as I used to but um yeah, tripods can feel limiting sometimes. So yeah, shoot handheld more often. It’s it’s fun Wow.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  50:01  
That’s awesome. That’s a great advice, something that I haven’t heard before. So that’s, that’s great. Well, Brian, that’s, it’s been a pleasure. It’s been such an amazing inspiration, hearing your stories. For the listeners who want to learn more and see how they can, you know, not only get in touch, maybe work with you, what is the best way for them to get in touch with you?

Ryan Dyar  50:24  
Well, first off, thanks for having me on. And let me tell my my dumb little story of how I’ve gotten where I’ve gotten. Appreciate it. Yep. Ryan Ryan Dyer, on Instagram, Facebook, everywhere. Just Brian dire dire with an A

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  50:44  
antastic Yeah, I’ll make sure I’ll put that on that on, on the description as well. So you can get there, you know, you can check on the description. But look, first of all, I just want to thank thank you for being here. sparing your time. But second of all, I want to thank you for should say most of all, for opening up and sharing your struggle that is such an inspiring stories. You know, I see a lot of, I’ve met a lot of successful photographers out there, but you’re the first person to doubt her to such a big struggle and turn your life around to make this such a try being successful. And, you know, when I say successful, not only monetary, but you know, you’re doing something that you fulfilled in your life. I think that’s a much bigger success than any money can buy. So kudos to you, man. You’re such an inspiration. I’m listening to this just getting goosebumps right now.

Ryan Dyar  51:42  
Thanks for letting me talk about it. I’m sure there’s a lot more people with a very similar story to mine in a lot, even more people who weren’t able to turn their life around, so I’m happy to talk about it. You know, I think it’s something we should talk about more. Just the struggles people go through, even if they seemingly have some cool career, you know, it’s always a struggle. So happy to happy to open up about it.

Stanley Aryanto – The Wicked Hunt  52:10  
Yeah, that’s awesome. And, you know, I think with this new era of things that looks happening in the instant, it’s really important that people realise the amount of work you have put to make this work. So that’s something absolutely. All right. Well, I’m weekenders. Hopefully you enjoy that conversation that is so much inspiration, as well as wisdom within that with what Ryan had shared. So make sure you check out his work his works is absolutely amazing. He also offer awesome tutorials, which you can check in his in his social media as well as his website. So highly recommend you to check it out. And you will, I can promise you, you will get blown away. It’s just but I’m glad that you tune in. And if you haven’t already, so click the subscribe button. So that you know next time, you know, I interview other inspiring photographers, and I’ll see you next week. Until next time. All right, thanks. Thanks a lot, Ryan. I appreciate your time. Man. That was great.

Ryan Dyar  53:20  
Thanks for having me, man. I really appreciate being here.


The Wicked Hunt by Stanley Aryanto Copyright 2020 All rights reserved.