For ten years Ryan Stadler had a job he didn’t love. Despite having grown up around artists and earning an art degree himself, he was advised that there was no money in the arts so he steered clear. Then he turned thirty. With a wife, a growing family, and a midlife crisis, Ryan’s dreams were filled with the desire to create instead of to acquire new cars and bigger houses.
Ryan left his job as a Master Painter and woodworker and picked up a camera, every camera. These days, he is a successful artist and truth seeker in the form of a documentarian photographer.
“Since that crisis or awakening or whatever you wanna call it, I’ve been learning and growing and striving. I’m not really sure of my destination, but I just want to capture the journey in an honest and captivating way.” – Ryan Stadler
“I’m striving to live my whole life with a camera at my side (be it an iPhone, 35mm film camera, polaroid, or the latest and greatest digital) taking photos of whatever inspires me or crosses my path. If friends or clients have me along for even a brief part of their lives, I want to document it, too.” – Ryan Stadler
“I desire to observe not dictate. I don’t want to inject too much of myself into who or what I’m photographing because I fear it will take away some of the authenticity of it. I hope my clients barely notice me, to be honest. I hope they wonder if I even took any good photos and upon receiving them are amazed at how real and matter of fact they seem.” -Ryan Stadler
This intimate family session features Ryan’s longtime friends, the Doris. Roee and Gretchen Dori met in New York City and started a small home furnishing business together. Eventually juggling business and children turned into a challenge solved by moving close to Gretchen’s family outside of Minneapolis. Roee settled into work as a wedding photographer where he worked with Ryan for several years. Recently, Gretchen received a job offer in Sweden which was closer to Roee’s family in his native Israel. Before the big overseas move, Gretchen and Roee asked Ryan to document their midwestern life.
Roee described the collection of images by Ryan as “exceptional” and “a treasured memoir from our life at that time.” Certainly, Ryan captured the details of their home, neighborhood and connections with the keen eye of an engaged and sensitive onlooker.
While Ryan has established a new career as an artist, he is also running a business that puts food on the table for his family of five. He knows what he likes to shoot but he doesn’t let that get in the way of listening to what his clients want. Sometimes they want that shot for the grandparents or the holiday card and Ryan has embraced the opportunity to challenge himself to meet his client’s needs. He has come to understand that there are “great photos to be made in the midst of these requests”. He embraces these opportunities to master another aspect of his craft.
“Putting work out there you want to keep doing is really important on the front end. Having a good conversation with clients ahead of time helps set the right expectations…help them see and get excited to be themselves during your session. Being accommodating during the session and feeling the freedom and challenge to create in a new way will help serve your clients and get you more work in the future.” – Ryan Stadler
Ryan Stadler took the risk to follow his heart and make a career of it. Don’t we all wish we were so bold? Now he’s free to create and deliver these unvarnished and down-to-earth memories for the rest of us. It’s a win-win.
Ryan and his people by Ash Imagery