Art Feature: Bus Stop Steamboat

Posted by on Nov 2, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments


Bus Stop Steamboat by Ryan Seylhouwer

Ryan Seylhouwer lives in downtown Denver with his cat, Vincent.  He works as a baker, but his primary passion is in photography and writing.  He enjoys spending time with his girlfriend, Loreli, in her garden and farm-to-table pursuits.

Question 1: To me, “Bus Stop Steamboat” accomplishes many things—among them, it’s a powerful study in shade, light, and darkness. Please tell us more about this piece. What inspired this piece? Would you like to share what it means to you, or the story behind it?

I took this photo with my Holga shortly after I got out of the hospital about a year ago. The subject always caught my eye when I passed by it, and at the time I was shooting a lot with the Holga my sister gave me. I think the subject matter is well suited for black and white, and naturally lends itself to a pleasing composition. In my opinion the unpredictability and slow shutter speed of the Holga bring it all together.

Q 2: As writers, many of our staff members and readers have very specific ways of doing things—and we often find ourselves creating several drafts of our work before we find we’ve created a piece that says just what we want it to say. What goes into your creative process? What do you do to ensure your subject or scene is portrayed in exactly the way you want?

I live in the city so I spend a lot of time just walking around looking for interesting photos. I try to not over shoot and focus on getting just a few solid images. I’m lucky to get 1-3 quality images from a roll of film. I don’t do a lot of work with models or studios. My work is of the street, and there’s not a lot in your control. Sometimes I get lucky and a person will walk into a perfect spot right as I release the shutter.

Q 3: On your website, you mention that your high school photography teacher had a lasting impact on you, introducing you to “alternative processes like photogravure, emulsion transfers, slide film, toy and pin-hole cameras.” Are there any other photographers who have influenced or informed your work, or methods that have revolutionized your art?

In my two years of college I spent countless hours in the library pouring over art books in the reading section. My style and approach to composition evolved from those many artists whose names I cannot recall. I think most photographers have always had a way of looking at things and creating compositions in their head with what’s in front of them. Henri Cartier Bresson is inspiring to me not just because of the quality of his work but because of the tenacity and volume at which he approached the art. The fusion of photojournalism and fine art is a pretty cool thing and something I go for. I also have to think about Ed Templeton and his series “Teenage Smokers” because of the way it captures American kids, specifically my youth.

Q 4: Along those same lines, how has your work evolved over time? What have been the most challenging obstacles to overcome in your work as a photographer?

I’ve gone from shooting mostly black and white and looking at composition like an engineer would to becoming more contemporary and paying attention to colors and how they play like a painting. I think my work is becoming calmer. The biggest challenge to my photography is not having the money to travel.

Q 5: Where do you find inspiration, and what keeps you motivated to continue pursuing photography?

I find inspiration in everyday life and the work of others. There’s a lot to observe in the world. I want to have a piece in a gallery that a kid sees and goes “wow, that’s cool”. That’s what keeps me motivated. My girlfriend and family are also great at keeping me motivated.

Q 6: Who is one artist or photographer our readers should know about, and why is this person’s work so important?

I should mention Hal Gould who just passed away on the 25th of June. He was seminal in the Colorado photography scene and ran the Camera Obscura gallery, one of the nation’s oldest and most well-known galleries. I remember going in there when I was in elementary school and being in awe of all the work and thinking how cool it would be to be a professional photographer. You can read more about him and his other ventures in Denver’s Westword’s recent article, which you can find here.

Q 7: What’s the best book, collection, or piece you’ve read lately?

The “Modern Masterpieces” collection that was at the Denver Art Museum not that long ago was pretty rad. I really enjoy pop art. I’ve been reading Jerzy Kosinski’s “Steps” which is pretty disturbing. I don’t know if I’ll finish it.

Q 8: Are you currently working on any projects you’d like our readers to know about?

I just entered a still life competition at the Center for Fine Art Photography in Fort Collins, CO so we’ll see how that goes. As soon as I can get a car I plan on doing a series on rural Colorado towns that I’ve been dreaming up for a long time.

Q 9: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Horchata is really good, and when I was a kid my camp counselor didn’t have a belly button.

Linsey Jayne is a wave-headed poet with a penchant for jazz who received her MFA in creative writing at Fairfield University. Her writing has been published in such publications as The Standard-Times, The Dartmouth-Westport Chronicle, and exactly.what. She has served as the chief poetry editor for Mason’s Road, as well as the student editor for the Bryant Literary Review and the opinion section editor of The Archway. Linsey is currently at work on her first collection of poetry, entitled Idle Jive.

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