Artist Spotlight: Ryan Colford

By Albert Smith

Originally published on Advocate.com March 13 2010 6:35 AM ET

 

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Artist Statement

I use photography to capture one slice of time, a glimpse of beauty immortalized. Everything tells a story that I try to reveal to the viewer. Some pieces tell one story and some are an integral piece of a larger story yet to be told.

My focus on the male form is to expose the beauty of man. Society has de-sexualized the male form to a detriment. Our culture hides the male body in layers of ill-fitting clothes and instills a shame when someone appreciates the male form.

By exposing the male body both nude and clothed, I strive to remove those layers of deception. The imagery that I create is proud, vulnerable, tender, and strong but at the heart it is the unabashed celebration of male sexuality.

My work allows the viewer to truly appreciate the life and energy of man. As a man I feel it is important to share this art in today’s society.
 

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Why are you a photographer?
I can't imagine not doing it! Being such a visual artist, I can't seem to turn off the whirling thoughts and images in my head. My biggest fear is that I won't have enough time to create all the striking ideas that come to me. I've always been involved with the arts in one way or another, from music to creative writing. Ultimately, though, it's a way of expressing yourself in a different medium that I think speaks to people on a deeper level. Knowing that I touch people and have an effect on them constantly pushes me on.

What catches your eye?
I actually see beauty in so many different ways. Sometimes it can be something as simple as a man's jawline or the curve of his smile. Of course, there are men who have a timelessness about them, and I can't imagine not capturing that look.

How do you choose your subjects?
I look for a confidence and playfulness in the models that I work with. They can't be afraid of expressing themselves and their sexuality. When I meet men that I want to work with, I see the way the light hits them, and it resonates for me. It's like bell chimes in my head and I can just see them in my scenarios before ever picking up my camera.

How do you describe your work?
My work is really a mix. Artistically, my black-and-whites tend to be classic, strong images exposing men on a variety of emotional levels. I've also been doing a collection called "Candy Shoppe," which is very stylized with an emphasis on color, texture, vibrancy, and sexuality, both serious and playful.

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What makes a good photograph to you?
I think deep in my heart I'm always trying to create that indelible image that will be remembered forever. Look at the shot of the sailor kissing the woman in Times Square on the cover of Life. Everybody remembers that shot because of the intense emotion. That's the type of photograph I think is good. Of course, everyone also remembers the Memorex shot of the guy having his hair blasted back. You can't be afraid to have fun too. It's all about a certain intensity and having "it." You can't really describe what "it" is, but everyone knows it when they see it.

Who are your favorite artists? And why?
That's easy. Greg Gorman and Dave LaChapelle. Greg is such an amazing, prolific photographer. His work just grabs me instantly. His high-contrast work is so evocative. I think he is one of the most talented photographers I've ever had the fortune to meet. Dave is vibrant and fun and irreverent. Having studied with Warhol, what can you expect but an imaginative and supertalented photographer?

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