Ryan Tacay: “Having people from different cultures combining into a single scene is inspiring to me as the possibilities to create something that binds us together as human beings is infinite”
You are a professional photographer; what “brought” you to Instagram? When did you start and what “keeps” you here?
I turned to instagram as a way to showcase my work in a place where all eyes seemed to be looking when it came to sharing images online. I started probably in September of 2012 and I stick around for those who really appreciate my work – they’re the reason why I stay and continue to do what I do.
Tell us about the photograph featured here.
The photograph you see was taken while I was on assignment for TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival). While I was waiting to meet up with the coordinator of the event I was about to shoot, I had my camera out and was doing test shots of the venue to see what kind of light I had to deal with. In the process, this scene unfolded and the rest is history. Lesson here is that images can present themselves at anytime so it always helps to be ready.
Just like this photo -and I imagine your work in general- most of your shots on Instagram, are moments, splits (f[ph]ractions) of a second, where people in your frame cross paths but will “disperse” in their separate ways right after the shutter clicks. Tell us about your photographic process.
Haha yes, I do love the word play 😉. I don’t know if the process is something that’s set in stone – it’s always evolving. Every scene, every person, every moment are all variables that are difficult (if not impossible) to control and so the idea is to simply go out there without any real expectations and just let the world present itself to you. Knowing that it’s ok to come back home with nothing to show for your time and effort is a difficult concept to grasp at times, but hopefully with consistency and perseverance, you’ll eventually get what you’re looking for.
What is the photographic message of your work?
If I knew what my photographic message was I’d be in a much better position than I am right now, but I feel that these things will reveal themselves after a while and I’m in no rush to get all the answers right away. For now, it’s all up to the interpretation of the individual and whatever they choose to take from the images.
Similarly, your images have a common editing style -which I love- a touch of dark alongside a touch of bright, but without being too “contrasty;” is this editing intentional? Which editing platform you use?
Thank you! I think the editing is very much intentional and reflective of the general mood I want to convey for not that just one image but a series of images. Whenever I upload a shot I always think of what came before and how the image that I’m posting now can be an extension of that same feeling or idea. Mostly I use Lightroom combined with VSCO on a Mac.
You are quite active on social media (Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, a personal blog, etc); what’s your take on a photographer’s activity and the exposure he gives his work?
I think that I spread myself thin sometimes having to manage so many different platforms but I think that it’s important to try to get your work in as many different areas as you can to increase your exposure. Every social media application has a different way to present your work and I think it’s a creative exercise in itself to be able to appeal to different audiences in various ways.
You work from Toronto, Canada, mostly. How does the place as a backdrop influences your images?
With how diverse and multicultural Toronto is, it really gives me the ability to share my ideas in so many various ways. Having people from different cultures combining into a single scene is inspiring to me as the possibilities to create something that binds us together as human beings is infinite.
At your second profile on Instagram and more recently on Instagram Stories, you post sort of tutorials where you talk about an image and why it was chosen -or why another one was not. What is the idea behind sharing your experience?
In a way, I’ve always known that I’m an instructor that loves to share my knowledge. I know what it’s like to start out and not have a clue where to even begin. I’ve learned so much from watching others in person and online and I thought it was only fitting to pay the knowledge forward.
To close this interview, tell me in one sentence, what’s photography for you?
Photography is a way of trying to understand yourself more than what it is you’re actually trying to capture.
Ryan Tacay’s instagram account https://www.instagram.com/phraction_street/ and personal website: http://www.ryantacayphoto.com/
The interview was given on 29.03.2017