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    We’ve had our eye on LA photographer Sean Ryan Pierce for a while now for his ability to capture people and moments in a subtle yet engaging way. We sat down with Sean to discuss a few of his favorite images, his constant sources of inspiration, and the method behind his madness. Photos by Sean Ryan Pierce So who is Sean Ryan Pierce? I am a photographer and filmmaker living in Los Angeles. What was growing up like? I was born on the San Joaquin River Delta and I grew up moving around small towns in the Central Valley. I was the youngest of three boys who largely raised themselves. We swam in irrigation canals in the summer and rode dirt bikes through the suburbs. We always had dogs. We'd drive across the valley to catch snakes with pillow cases and turned our garage into a terrarium. My first camera was a 35mm Minolta my mother gave me. I never put it down. What made you initially get into photography? Was there something specific that you enjoyed capturing? Moving to New York City and being inspired every day to leave the house with a camera. I was drawn to the small passing moments amongst the commotion. It might be the most overly-photographed city, but there's magic everywhere if you look. Did you go to school for photography? Or is it something you taught yourself? I've been lucky enough to have met some very gifted photographers who have taught me a lot of what I know about photography. Studying the work of photographers you admire is invaluable. The books of Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Stephen Shore, and Alec Soth among many others. Those have been my schooling. What kinds of human subjects are you drawn to photographically? People who have stories to tell. People who have had loss. People who've never sat for a portrait before. I tend to shoot a medium format film camera, it's a slow process and it requires me to talk to my subject and to connect with them. That's probably the best part. Similarly, with your landscape photos, what kinds of outdoor scenes are you drawn to? I'm influenced by how humans have altered landscapes. I'm drawn to scenes similar to those found in the Central Valley, which is very different than the rest of California. Much of it is rural and unchanged. There are rodeos, migrant famers, and wild horses near the borders. Aesthetically, I guess the style is referred to as 'New Topographics'. Amazing outdoor photos tend to get lost in the vast array of them that flood Instagram, yet for reasons we can’t put our finger on, your's stand out with their own unique personality. Do you have any tips for making outdoor photos stand apart from the rest? Avoid places where other photographers frequent. Be mindful of where you are and what that place means to you. Or as Werner Herzog said, 'Learn to read the inner essence of a landscape.' Lugging around a DSLR isn’t always feasible, are there certain things you make sure you always have on you just in case you come across something or someone really inspiring to shoot? I almost always have a 35mm point and shoot on me, and if not, then the iPhone. What are your favorite types of projects to work on? Projects that involve collaboration. Ones that shed light and have a positive social impact. I'm hoping to take on more photojournalist work in the future. Photography is more meaningful to me when it has context. If you could give your younger self a few words of advice, what would they be? Forgiveness. What about advice for beginning photographers? Always carry bolt cutters. Do you have any fun projects, trips, or plans planned for the near future? I just returned from a week in Mexico and we're settling into a new apartment in Los Angeles. I'm in the research phase of a new project set in a small town southwest of Death Valley. Other than that, I'll be continuing my portraits projects. Anyone that would like to partake can find my email on my website. Keep up with Sean Ryan Pierce's travels and projects on his Instagram, website, and tumblr. Shop Mens
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