While I’d like to say I’ve been taking pictures since I was 2 years old, it just isn’t the truth. I spent most of my time growing up playing with Legos and getting picked last for kickball. Although I’ve long been intrigued by photography, I spent much of my life thinking I’d go into television or video production.
It wasn’t until I finished college, expensive diploma in hand, that the magic of freezing time grabbed me and refused to let go.
The next five years were an intense self-taught crash course. I read a lot of books, learned from a lot of mentors, and even more from mistakes. As time went on, I realized that while I loved nature photography, shooting people is what really ignites me.
A picture that I took years ago of my wife Kelly’s feet, on an old street in Istanbul, helped me start to realize this. I love the tone, the grain of the film, and I love what it doesn’t say: “Who? Where? Why?” It has hung in our house since then, and reminds me why I do what I do.
Shooting portraits allows me to capture and create on a daily basis. The wondrous beginning of a baby’s life, the innocence of childhood, the beauty of family… this is rich ground for art, a perfect place to invest in people, stop time, and create. There are so many stories to tell, and I want to tell them.
Ryan Estes is a member of the Professional Photographers of America. His work has appeared in numerous publications, and he has the cutest daughters in the world. Seriously.