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Meet St. Augustine Photographer Ashton Ryan of ALR Imagery
6 minutes

Meet St. Augustine Photographer Ashton Ryan of ALR Imagery

- edited by: Glenn Shuck

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Hi, my name is Ashton, I am an artist who uses all types of mediums to document and celebrate all the moments in life.

Hello Ashton, so nice to meet you. Tell us in what part of the First Coast do you reside in now and how long have you lived there? 

My photo + video studio is located in St Augustine, FL.

Why did you get into photography? 

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to be a photographer, actress, filmmaker, the list goes on…  but I did accomplish a few things from the list and photographer is one of them.  I was around 7 or 8 years old when I started posing and photographing anyone who would let me, I remember I had a few different Polaroid-type cameras but I also loved the underwater throwaway cameras around this time too. I still have pictures from these days and I love to look back at them all but I really have NO idea how I initially ‘got into photography’.

What photographers are your biggest influences? How did they affect who you are and how you create? 

My great grandfather ALWAYS had some Canon (yuck, JK) camera at every event when I was a kid, right up until he died, he was shooting stills of all of us around him.  I always knew I wanted to be the one documenting all the things around me too.

How long have you been shooting? How do you feel you’ve evolved since you started? 

For as long as I can remember, I have always had some type of camera. Months would go by where I wouldn’t shoot anything but then I would pull it out and bring it to a party, develop the film, and promptly be grounded by my mom and dad for said images because ya know, tangible evidence of a ‘sneak out and party event’. When digital photography became mainstream, I always had some type of point-and-shoot camera and always printed all my images, which I still have in a trunk that I have hauled around the USA for 18 years.  Luckily, my skills have evolved because of many of the great teachers placed in my life. 

My first job as a journalist provided me the education I needed to start my own photo and video business which has grown over the years as so many people have put their trust in me to document their love stories or brands. Working as a freelance reporter and shooting photos and videos of live music events, working on editorial campaigns and reporting and documenting real-life stories has given me so many experiences to learn and grow from, but really, the journey has only begun.  

On Thanksgiving of this year, I launched a lifestyle magazine for women called Wild Homes and Gardens and already I am seeing so much positive feedback with so many amazing artists reaching out for the next issue.  I am over the moon excited for how this magazine has authentically and organically grown in just a few short months.   It’s amazing how listening to your heart can lead you to so many more places than listening to your brain.  

Tell us about the gear that you’re using. Please give us a list with reasons why you choose it. Please be descriptive. We want to know how it helps you translate your creative vision: 

Nikon. Always Nikon. 🙂

Natural light or artificial light? Why? 

There’s a time and place for it all 

Why is photography and shooting so important to you? 

My love for photography has only grown over the years and I always knew my life would revolve around it.  To express myself and help others do the same is all that matters to me. 

Do you feel that you’re more of a creator or a documenter? Why? How does the gear help you do this? 

I feel like I am helping create something memorable as I am also documenting the experience and the moments.  My documentary style has evolved over the years, with my journalism experience and my freelance modeling career melding to create my unique style.  Not only do I know exactly how you feel on the other side of the lens, I know how to make you feel comfortable and authentic with my ‘unposed’ prompts and poorly told jokes.

What is the goal of your photography? (A business, just to share on social media, gateway to adventure, etc.)? 

To document moments, to create art to share and inspire others, to help tell stories

Do you enjoy books? If so, any specific genre? 

I love books and read all genres.  Some of my favorite books of all time are The Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker,  The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, Banana Rose by Natalie Goldberg. Actually, everything by Natalie Goldberg, Slyvia Plath, and Alice Walker is GOLDEN to me. Some of my other favorite authors are Colette, Alice Hoffman, Anita Shreve, Debbie Ford, Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Anais Nin, Mae West and Lynn Andrews, Oscar Wilde, Hemingway, Simone de Beauvoir, Ayn Rand and Sarah Ban Breathnach, to name a few 🙂

What is your favorite photographic accomplishment? 

Some of my favorite moments early on in my photography career came from me simply saying ‘Yes!’ to almost any event or shoot thrown my way.  The experiences ALWAYS were memorable and always helped teach me something. I had only owned my ‘big boy’ camera a few months and I was asked to shoot at Warped Tour, a music festival that I have regularly attended since I was young.  Crowd surfing with my camera into the media pit during Bowling For Soup, a band that I have loved since I was a kid, felt like an accomplishment and quite certainly some of the most fun with my camera yet.  Selling stock images of unique plants and flowers that I have grown in my yard also feels like an accomplishment and every time I receive joyful texts, emails and phone calls about the moments I documented, that feels like the greatest accomplishment.  

What advice would you give someone who just picked up their new camera on how to get started?

Just use it, all the time, any time that you think about it.  Experience is everything and every time that you pick it up, you will learn something new. 

How can we see your work?

Suggest a Story: FCL is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so when you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.

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