Residing in San Fransico, 36 year old Ryan Ackerberg is a photographer that we, here at #itchysilk instantly liked.
Originally from Sioux City Iowa, Ackerberg has the ability to turn the seemingly banal, into powerful photographic moments. In turn, his understated skilfull use of light, shadows and space draws you into his world where ‘voids’ are appreciated rather than feared and ‘normality’ excites and tingles.
Without photography life is……..?
Basically I feel that photography is my reason to get out into my own environment or new environments and keep searching. I was first introduced to photography through my parents’ passion for it. Unfortunately in my twenties I lost the passion…I am not really sure why but it was due to photographers like Jason Lee and everyone involved with and contributing to the film photographic world that I rediscovered photography about a year and a half ago and now I shoot every day.
The first camera you used was…….?
A Minolta x-370 and it had a 50mm 1.7 lens (I still own it). I had the camera when I was living in my hometown of Sioux City Iowa and would shoot things like old grain silos or trains. I have an image that always sticks out in my memory from that period of time. It was an image I took of a pair of my father’s old work boots-it makes me feel old.
And what are you using now?
Currently I am using a Leica m3 with an old 5cm Summicron f2, Pentax 67 with a variety of rad lenses, Mamiya 645 with a variety of rad lenses, polaroid 600se with a Mamiya press lens and last but not least an old Nikkormat with a 28mm f 2.8.
What makes this medium so powerful and indeed is photography more than standing there taking a picture?
I think that photography is so important because it can be what anyone wants it to be. You can be the person snapping away on your iPhone, the parents who dropped thousands of dollars on camera equipment to document the family or the pro who has magazine covers. It’s great when there’s a striking image and no matter who the person is, it can stop them in their tracks.
What subjects are you passionate about and how do you try and depict that in the images you capture?
This very question is something that I’ve been grappling with for some time now. I am one of those people that shoot what catches their eye. When this happens however it’s a very powerful feeling and I know I have to take the photograph. If I choose to not take it I feel guilty and on many occasions turn back from what I am doing and go take that photo. If I miss it, I dwell on it for a while like I lost something. I am however starting to notice that a lot of my photos deal with open space or a sense of great expanse.
Like your black and white work and the way you play with shadows and light explain your process.
Thank you for noticing that. This is a great example of why I think it is important to have some technical knowledge. Through much shooting I have realized that I really love to have space and void of subject in my photography. So I have been enjoying shooting directly into the sun and playing with f stops to achieve this. I shoot a lot of 100 speed film and point it directly at the sun.
You seem to capture the essence of either an area or your area (not sure which) explain what you try and capture in those images.
A lot of time I find myself cruising around northern California and searching out empty or lonely spaces. If I’m shooting in the city I am looking for lonely people-I think I am drawn to these subjects more and I hope I am conveying that in my photos
What does ‘normality’ mean to you when taking images-there seems to be a strong sense of not capturing something sensational but rather revelling in the normality there is a sense of quiet in some of your images?
Capturing something sensational to me feels like photojournalism and while I respect photojournalism it’s not for me. I feel too stressed out if I’m looking for a photograph I like to just stumble upon them.
Do you have some projects you are looking to embark on elaborate?
Currently I am working on shooting very large open expansive landscapes with nudes out in the distance and in the void using both colour and black and white film.