We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Dobson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking in the world of photography can look like many different things and in many ways resembles the risks we take in life. For me, as a new photographer to the scene, a lot of the risks I take revolve
around putting my work out into the world in hopes that it can be seen. The risk is failure or embarrassment, where the reward is usually a new relationship with a client, exposure, or setting myself up for more projects and work to come. Reaching out to local stores, magazines, and strangers takes a
lot of courage and is a big risk sometimes. I could spend so much time, money, and resources trying to
get somewhere and, in the end, have a difference in vision and lose what I put into a project or a lead. Taking these risks in my photography is no different than the risks we all take in every aspect of our lives, education, relationships, goals, etc.
Often, I have tried something new that didn’t work out, but because of this, I have learned so much and I am incredibly grateful for my failures and the experience that comes from that. Most of the time you have to just take a risk and try something for yourself, fail, and learn something new and get back to it. For example, waking up at 2AM, summiting a mountain to catch the sunrise at the top with a photo I pictured in my mind and instead getting up there just in time and not getting the shot the way I imagined it. It was a great hike, but not a great photo. There are a lot of lessons lived and learned, but I continue to pursue it because of my love for capturing the wonderful world all around me.
One of my favorite and most influential photographers in my life is Jimmy Chin. He takes so many calculated risks while hanging off the side of a cliff when shooting as an adventure photographer. This is something I dream of achieving in my future. Successfully working through the small risks builds character and experience that equips me to take on larger risks such as these.
As a self-taught professional photographer, it takes a lot of time, dedication, and perseverance, and of course lots of risk taking. I still have mountains of things to learn, but I am here; I am doing it, putting in the work, taking the risks, and always learning. Each success is worth it, and with the outstanding support from friends, family, and especially my wife I continue working hard and always striving to be better at what I do.
Here’s to future projects, clients, and of course. . . taking risks.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I have been in love with photography for over a decade now and really took the plunge into developing my craft and working towards becoming a professional photographer about 7 years ago now. I have been specializing in Fine Art photography with the vision of bringing gorgeous photos into people homes and stores to inspire other to be outside and enjoy creation. I know for myself, that is what inspires me and how I get excited about travel is through great and unique photography. It is a very competitive world and requires an insane amount of time to put into so many things outside of just taking photos. These things have been the hardest to learn and stay on top of. Things like outreach, ordering prints, running a website and social media. All things I can get better at.
Photography is currently my side job. Primarily I am a Nurse in a CVICU (Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit). Photography is my passion whereas being a nurse is something I felt called into and truly enjoy it. It is by far the most difficult thing I do in my life, but the challenges that come with the work, the immense number of things to never stop learning and the ability to care for people on their worst days is a rare experience and it is so worth it. This past year was definitely a unique challenge on the front lines of a pandemic and with it so many problems and issues arose like: lack of supplies, equipment and staff. . In the end though, we made it through, we helped so many people to the very best of our abilities and we all learned what it takes to make it through a devastating event.
I hope that my story can be an example of chasing after dreams and passions and still be able to do something else. Sometimes it is best to put all of your efforts into one thing which can make that one thing grow and flourish. For many people like myself, that is either hard or feels impossible. My work helps fuel my passions and hobbies and one day, maybe I can make those into my sole career.
If there is something like a passion or hobby you want to share with others I challenge you to make it happen. Work hard at it, find time when you are free and chase that dream. It wont be easy, but often great things never come from easy tasks. May your journey be fruitful and one of learning. Good luck!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Living in Flagstaff has been an absolute blast. There are so many things to do, see and taste. When it comes to outdoor adventures there is a large variety. As an avid mountain biker I would take my friends up Schultz Pass and bomb down some of the best local trails, full of great descents, challenging climbs and of course some good fast single-track. I love a good bouldering session out at Priests Draw where there are some pretty unique places for roof climbing. The best of all and no matter the weather is a trip to the Grand Canyon. It could be raining, snowing, gusting or a perfectly clear day and it always blows me away. Just make sure to avoid hiking down when its hot. If the West side open, a drive to hermits Rest lends some of the best views down into the canyon and grants a picture of the Colorado River. Hiking down it takes a lot of work but if that what we planned for I love hiking the Kaibab Trial to the Bright Angel Trail.
When it comes to food there is a plethora of great choices. My wife and I’s favorite is Sosoba’s happy hour. They are a fun and small noodle bar with great dishes and amazing cocktails to go along with. Flagstaff Brewery scene is quite special. I would have to take them to the famous Mother Road Brewery, especially after a long days bike ride. Another Favorite is Dark Sky Brewery. There beers are unique and they never brew the same one again. Always something fun to try. Inside they also have Pizzacletta who makes the best authentic and delicious Italian pizza in all of Arizona.
The First Friday Art walks in downtown Flagstaff are finally back as well and something I love to take people to. If you are there when one is happening, I highly recommend experiencing it and seeing some amazing local artists show of their work. Who knows, you may even see me there!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I have a so many friends and family that have encouraged me along my photography career and even as a nurse that I am so thankful for. But I can ,without a doubt, say that my wife, Audrey, has been the number one encouragement in my life. She is always there to listen when things get hard or do not go as planned. She has a strong sense of reason and always seems to give the right advice for every moment. Without her pushing me forward to challenge myself I would not be on this wonderful and crazy journey.
Audrey, I love you dearly and always enjoy our photographer adventures together. You also make the best tripod carrier in the world.