In the run up to Farm Week 16, we will be asking all of our mentors these Ten Questions, to get to know them a little, to discover some new facts about them and because we just want to know more about what makes them tick.
This week we asked US photographer Ryan Muirhead our Ten Questions. If you are unfamiliar with Ryan's body of work then race to his website right now. He is a photographic artist who takes us along on his quest to frame what it is to be human. I think of him as a photographer's photographer. He is a purist in both method and motive and he is the one person that I get asked the most to get to Photography Farm. So as you can imagine, we are very much looking forward to his class at Farm Week 16.
Can you remember the first camera that you ever owned and if so tell us about it?
I think the first camera I ever bought for myself was a Canon 20d, quickly followed by every other Canon DSLR until the 5d Mark II, at which point I switched to film.
I sometimes think about how amazing the Instagram accounts would have been of people who are not around anymore, like Andy Warhol… His feed would have been incredible. Who do you think would have had a great Instagram?
I think an Oscar Wilde instagram would be amazing.
What’s the one piece of advice that you have been given that proved to have had the most influence on you?
Learn to see light.
What function do you wish your camera could have that it doesn’t already?
Nothing. I have been very actively trying to use cameras with almost no functions. Aperture and Shutter speed is plenty for me. Screens and extra buttons scare me.
If you were not a photographer what job would you be doing?
I really don’t know. I would like to think I could write, but I probably can’t. Maybe just back to tearing tickets at the movie theater.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement so far?
Name one book that you think we should go out and buy.
The book most blowing my mind is “Infinite Jest”, but it’s a very serious commitment to read. If unable to tackle it I would recommend “Although of course you end up becoming yourself”. It’s a series of conversations with the author of Infinite Jest and has some incredibly beautiful insight into being human.
What’s the strangest thing you have ever been asked to photograph and did you do it?
I don’t know about strangest, but the most difficult and unusual was the short life and funeral of my niece, and yes, I did do it.
If you could go back and say one thing to yourself aged 20, what would it be?
No-one knows what they are doing. No-one has the authority to give you permission to be yourself. Own what you are feeling and use it to find the others like you.
What question do you wish we’d asked you?
“What’s a question you don’t want to answer?"
Ryan Muirhead is joining us as part of Farm Week 16 where he will be teaching his Film and Model Workshop on the 8th of February. Although Ryan shoots film, this class would equally suit a digital shooter. You will be learning about light, working with a model to get intimate and natural portraits as well as examining why you want to take images in the first place.