Ryan Stanford is one of these photographers that do miracles. He specialises in capturing the beauty of the male form and his work is here to prove that. Not only can he make you get out of your clothes without regretting that but can capture your fantasies and create visual pleasures. YASS met Ryan Stanford (www.instagram.com/ryanstanfordphotography) and we got to know him a bit better.
How would you describe your work?
My work is me. Longing and loneliness and a romantic vision of love and art. It is everything that I love and care about in the world. I don’t have a personal page because everything I am is in my photos. You learn all there is to know about me through my work. I don’t have any friends and no boyfriend so this is what I have. This is my interaction with the world. I hope people sense that. These are my dreams.
How do you like to capture the male beauty through your lenses?
Male beauty is all natural beauty and the beauty of life so it encapsulates all of that. Men just happen to be my subject to show how special and beautiful and often sad and lonely the human experience in the world is. I feel like the models are comfortable and have fun and hopefully feel special and beautiful with me. It is very natural and organic and I like it to be spontaneous and fun for me too. Each photo shoot is a little whirlwind romance. The only ones I have.
Who is behind the concept of each photoshoot? Is it always what the customers want or do
you provide inspiration too?
The concepts are usually mutually decided upon. I have specific ideas and know which model to go to. I tend to work with models over and over and build professional relationships so I usually know who to approach with different concepts. These are always collaborations. I play off of their energy and ideas and inclinations. Sometimes ideas take totally different forms once the shoot starts and those transformations are interesting and challenging. I am very easy when it comes to this. I listen to their ideas and thoughts and often a sort of kismet happens. That kismet is magical! Also, if something isn’t really working I just know it isn’t, so onto something else.
What has been the funniest moment that can happen during a photoshoot?
I like to talk and the conversations are usually the funniest part. Just talking and joking and these are also my chance to show my personality and sense of humour so I really, really enjoy that. This is my chance for other people to get to know me in person and not through my photos. I really enjoy getting to know the guys as well and letting them be themselves. I think this rapport shows in the photos. Or at least I really hope it does!
Have you ever said no to a concept of a photoshoot or to a model that wanted to be
I feel really sorry saying no and I am not good at it so I usually try anything the guy wants and see how it goes. I just want people to like me so I usually don’t say no. But I am busy and that is a helpful excuse if I do have to say no. But I feel badly. But this can also be taken advantage of.
What do you like to photograph?
I photograph guys that I find beautiful. I am showing the world who I am through these gorgeous men. These guys would never be a part of my life otherwise so I feel very fortunate to have their time and to be able to show the world how beautiful they are yes, but also aspects of their personalities and interests as well as mine. These are my small opportunities to have these men in my life. I get to feel loved and special and interesting and fun during the shoots which is why it feels kind of sad when they are over. Like I said earlier these are my chances at whirlwind romances.
Have you ever been aroused during a photoshoot and how did you handle it?
Yes but it is usually fleeting. The excitement really comes from the frisson of the collaboration and connection that happens. That can feel sexual but it feels more romantic. Usually the most physically sexual thing that happens is the hug and kiss hello and goodbye. The mental aspect is sexual inasmuch as I get very excited and the only times I am happy in my life are during the shoot. It can feel really lonely when a shoot is over. The editing process is also rarely arousing or sexual to me. I am just really focused on perfection and quality and making something special for the model and something special to show the world.
Have you ever captured your own fantasies during a photoshoot?
My fantasies involve people liking me and wanting to be around me, and being around beautiful men so with that I am successful. Romance and connection and beauty and longing. I think my work shows that.
Who are your role models and the people you admire?
All roads lead to Madonna for me. From a little boy I have been inspired, influenced and in love with her and her work. The first photographer that I fell in love with was Cindy Sherman. I think each photograph of mine shows an aspect of who I am like her self-portraits. So I take a lot of inspiration from her. Frida Kahlo and her loneliness and agony I really empathise with and take comfort in her work because I can see myself in a lot of the ways she felt and she turned that into passionate art. I turn my dreams and longing and loneliness into photography.
Tell me one thing you have not done yet and what your future plans are.
I really want to do a series in tribute to Madonna using gay men. Takes on her album covers, videos and the SEX book. That is what I am working towards. To do that right and truly honour her legacy will be a challenge that I feel I am ready for soon.