We were fortunate to participate in the Healing Power Of Art online juried exhibition held by Manhattan Arts International. We were asked to select the Award of Excellence in Photography and Digital Art and selected “Morning Geese” created by Ryn Clarke. To help promote Ryn and this award, we thought it might be interesting to get to know Ryn better by doing an interview with her.
EWW: Ryn, I am curious to know, if someone were asked to make a comment about your work as a whole, what do you think they would say?
Ryn: One of my clients and her husband wanted to commemorate the sale of their company. They had planted a Japanese maple in their yard the same year that their business was launched, almost 30 years ago. This beautiful tree had been on a very personal journey with them. My challenge was to photograph this tree during each season for a complete year during 2013/2014 beginning with autumn. Here is what my client said about the project:
“This magical project “Kisetsu”, represents celebration, reflection and transformation for my husband and me. What I love about Ryn’s work is that she skillfully includes the viewer in a moment. Ryn captures color, light, texture and action be it autumn’s wind, springs rain, or the stillness of both winter and summer.”
EWW: What would be your comments about your work, as a whole?
Ryn: I view my photography as a way to engage with the world and enrich the lives of those that intersect with my world. I try to bring simplicity into my life and my work. I hope my photography reflects this paring down, this restraint.
Click on an image to enlarge it.
EWW: What is unique about your photography? Would I be able to immediately pick out your work in an exhibition?
Ryn: If you knew me, you would probably be able to identify the work. But I tend not to
“limit” myself to one particular style. My landscapes are usually quiet meditations of nature, while my “close-ups” are fragmentary glimpses: partial branches, layerings of flower petals, things that wait patiently to be discovered. I am experimenting with iPhonography with great success. In fact, I captured 4 awards in one show in the cell phone category: Best, First, Most Creative and Museum Staff Award.
EWW: Excluding subject matter, are there any themes that consistently run from one work to the other such as perspective or composition, lighting, movement, style, etc.?
Ryn: In a workshop with Sam Abell many years ago, he reviewed my work and mentioned that my images exhibited a kind of “wabi-sabi” approach to nature. I had no clue to what he was talking about, but immediately went about researching this odd term. It seemed that I have had an appreciation for things wabi-sabi and that my images were reflecting this philosophical approach. So, I guess, if there were any consistent themes, they would be capturing moments of inception or subsiding, about uncovering things minor and hidden, tentative and ephemeral; things so subtle that they are almost invisible to the eyes.
EWW: On your website, in your bio/statement, you write about the use of the “wabi-sabi” approach to photography. Can you elaborate on this in terms of philosophy and what are the results of this style?
Ryn: Wabi-sabi’s particular nature is about process not product (i.e. the Japanese tea ceremony, for instance); it is about decay and aging, not growth; it is about accepting the inevitable; getting rid of all that is unnecessary, a paring down. Consequently, you need to slow way down, be patient and look very closely. Many of my images have begun to show this simplicity of form. I am incorporating hand-made Japanese papers as a substrate for printing much of my new work, as the papers tend to exhibit fragile and vulnerable qualities built into the pulp. Its translucency compliments the images perfectly.
Click on an image to enlarge it.
EWW: What have you found to be the most successful marketing strategy for you and your work?
Ryn: Really putting my work and myself out there in the art world, either locally, regionally, nationally, and even internationally, has probably been the most productive. It has led to many commissioned works plus recognition by my peers. I enter competitive shows throughout the year where themes or categories give me inspiration and allow me to experiment and expose my skills to professionally acclaimed critics.
EWW: Do you use social media platforms to market and promote your work? If you do, which social media platform seems to work the best for you?
Ryn: At the present, I am struggling to find time to handle all the media platforms that are available. I really don’t know how artists manage to “do it all”. Besides my website, I am most familiar with Facebook and Instagram, but would love to figure out how to incorporate blogging, FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc. into one post, so you are not recreating the wheel each time. I know it is out there – I just have not found it yet!
EWW: Ryn, just to wrap up the interview, do you have any final thoughts about you and your work, that you think would be important for others to know about?
Ryn: “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun”, a quote by Katherine Hepburn, pretty much sums up my life as an artist. Don’t obey all the rules – think outside the box everyday. Life will open up with so many possibilities if you do. “Only those who will risk going to far can possibly find out how far one can go.” T.S. Eliot