Who Am I?
My name is Ryan, and welcome to my site. I am a senior photojournalism student at the University of Florida. After a rather tumultuous journey through college and finding my soul’s passion, here I am. Maybe this sounds too idealistic, but for the last two years, photography has been the driving force fueling this vision of becoming someone who can make a difference through compassion in this ever-changing, chaotic yet beautiful world.
When I graduated high school in May of 2007, I literally had my entire life planned to a perfect T. I would be starting the pharmacy program at Florida A & M and be out with a doctorate in the spring of 2013. It wasn’t until the end of 2009 when I really discovered I was no longer having any fun in what I was doing.
I started looking for other options and enrolled into the computational biology program at Florida State University by the fall of 2010. This sounded great at the time and I figured it’d be an easy way out as most of my course credits would transfer, and I’d have only a few core classes left before graduating with a degree of some sort.
It was also the summer leading into that fall semester that I found what’s become a larger part of me than I ever imagined. It was when I left my Canon PowerShot S5IS behind and purchased a Nikon D90. As fate would have it, this was also the summer my family and I took a trip to Washington D.C. for the week of the 4th of July. Armed with my D90, 18-55mm and 55-200mm lenses, I came back with well over 4,000 images that week. Most of which aren’t worth a thing, but I feel I managed to get away with a few decent ones…if anything else, I just had a lot of fun.
Now, back to the computational biology thing real quick. I remember sitting in my genetics class two months into the semester where I decided that this path was not for me and that I wanted to do something that would allow me to use photography as a means to live my life. So, I was encouraged to transfer into and try out the business marketing program, and that’s what I did from late 2010 through 2011.
Towards the end of 2011, I became increasingly frustrated with classes. There was no drive, no passion and no inspiration. I started to legitimately hate going to class. As someone who had gone through classes with such gusto and much success before, these feelings were so foreign and I knew something had to change.
The first week of February in 2012 was when I decided to withdraw from FSU and look for something a bit more centered around photography. During a week and a half spent as a college dropout, I did some research and came across the journalism program at UF that offered an emphasis in photojournalism. I signed up to take a tour of the college and really liked what I saw. It didn’t take much time at all to convince myself it was where I wanted to go. Plus, the application deadline for fall admission was just a week away.
Here and Now
As the vision I’ve had for myself has been molding and solidifying, I can say I finally feel more at home in the program here at UF. It’s wonderful being surrounded by others who share similar passions. It’s wonderful finding myself showing more initiative in going out of my way and seeking more of what makes me happy. I’ve already had so much help along this path; something I feel I never really had with other past endeavors.
And a special shout to Steve Johnson. Steve was a class instructor of mine when I first got to UF, but now I like to think of him as a friend and mentor.
Jason Parkhurst and Heinz Kluetmeier are two other photographers that I’ve had the privilege of meeting and I can’t thank them enough for a couple of big opportunities I’ve gotten through them.
If you’ve made it this far and are wondering what the point of all this is, I’ll go ahead and get to it…
The most concrete path in front of me currently is in the direction of sports photography, the ultimate aspiration is to use my knowledge and talents to help and lift up those around me; to tell stories about those who cannot tell it themselves. My soul’s landed in a place where it wants to travel and give back; it’s given me the desire to share with others what I learn and what touches my heart along the way. This blog is under continual construction to doing just that.
This is my journey.
This is my time machine.