Creating magic is one thing. Capturing it is another. Whether it was a “before” or “after” shot, it seemed that the most interaction was with the man behind the lens. This wasn’t a “say cheese” moment. We had to take direction, make love to the camera and then there was the chasing of the ever-elusive smize. It gave me a whole new perspective on modeling, fashion and yes, photography. Ryan Bevans, the photographer for the Ebony Natural Hair Makeover, explains that once he picked up the camera there was no turning back.
RDD: How long have you worked as a photographer and how did you first know that this is what you wanted to do?
RB: It’s been five years. My grandfather gave me my first camera when I was three. He was a photographer. So he started teaching me at a young age. First he taught me how to use it, then he started teaching me formats. He’s great with technology. He’s now 77, and travels over the U.S. doing graphic design and video. He is a great mentor.
RDD: What types of photography do you do most?
RB: My focus is people. I prefer portraits of musicians, artist, people who intrigue me. I do fashion also, it often leads to bigger jobs. I try to stay fresh by actively producing new work.
RDD: What do you love most about photography?
RB: It’s a high for me. My alternative. Creating something from nothing. The hair, makeup and styling is a concept. Making that concept come together-it’s a natural high.
RDD: On the outside shots that we took, you had me hop. I’ve seen that on America’s Next Top Model. What’s that all about?
RB: It’s about making the model feel as goofy as possible [laughs]. No, it’s just a trick, an exercise to help the model open up and move. After smiling for 45 minutes it becomes stagnant. It helps you get original results. When you have the shot, you know you have it.
RDD: What cameras do you recommend?
RB: It’s not the camera, really. It’s knowing how to control it. I have five and all of them are different. They are my professional toys.
RDD: How does one get started as a photographer and do you have any advice for those interested in this field?
RB: Photo school is a great outlet, but very expensive. In photo school you learn the technical, then you learn how to produce work. You learn control, but sometimes you need to let that go. Another option is to start assisting a photographer immediately.
For me, I needed a career path that was expressive and a schedule that I could control. My dad really wanted me to go to college, he felt photography was a hobby. Often people choose something safe and most times end up doing stuff that they hate. My advice is to choose wisely. Choose a profession you will love. I’m glad I stuck with it.
To see more of Ryan’s work visit RyanBevans.com.