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Monday, March 21, 2016

Ryan Loughridge

I first met Ryan Loughridge this past year at the El Diablo Run. We instantly hit it off and I could tell right away he was an extremely funny, chill and kind-hearted dude. I knew of Ryan and his work from the social media worlds but I didn't put two and two together until after our Mexican adventures. I really enjoy meeting people and getting to know them for who they are and not associating one's handle or whatever social outlets accompany their names. Discovering their talents and achievements after the fact but realizing I actually knew about those talents and person all along is a refreshing feeling. His photography is a reflection of his personality, genuine and true. With real life situations and feelings seen differently by his eye, he draws you into his pictures effortlessly. I'm extremely stoked to say Ryan is coming all the way from California to showcase some of his work at Fuel Cleveland on May 28th. I sent him a handful of questions and this is what came of it, enjoy!

-Mikey Revolt

Ryan Loughridge, where do you lay your head to rest at night?

R: I live in Costa Mesa, CA but am originally from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I’ve been in California for nearly 10 years, but I’ll always be a Coloradan.

When did you first pick up a camera and why?

R: My dad was always into photography. He was an adventurer. He took photos of his motocross buddies, mountaineering, skiing and family adventures. I think I was probably nine when he gave me my first camera. It was a little black point and shoot. I remember taking a trip with him to Yellowstone when I was around 15. My Dad had a couple of early digital SLRs with him. He said I could shoot with one for the trip. I don’t remember seeing the images from that trip but I loved how the viewfinder was a new scope for creatively looking at the world. Later on, in high school, I took a couple photo classes where I learned the basics of shooting manually and developing film. I wanted to be able to know how to take quality photos of my friends while we were out skating and snowboarding.

Are you a Canon or Nikon guy and why?

R: All of my digital gear is currently Canon. My first SLR was a Nikon and I still have it to this day. It’s a Nikon N90; an excellent camera. I just find Canon to be a great all around system, especially because I shoot video too. Having the video function is critical and Canons seem to be better than Nikon in that respect, for now. I’m not a hater, though. I also have a Leica M6 and a Hasselblad XPan; I’ll never get rid of those. It’s like bikes: it doesn’t matter what you shoot, just that you’re shooting.

I notice you actually do videos as well as photos, what’s harder for you videos or photos?

R: I wouldn’t say either one is really harder, but I think I love photography more. My background in video is mostly documentary style story telling. It is such a laborious task; making sure you have all these key shots and bits of information to tell the story. Sometimes you don’t know if you really have it all until you’re back in the editing bay. Then, there has to be so much attention to the edit, sound, cuts. There’s no listening to music while you edit video, it requires full attention from a number of senses. With photography it’s definitely a little more laid back on the editing end, but sometimes the shoots can be just as involved as video or more so. It’s all good though; I just love creating and documenting with cameras.

What is your favorite place you have ever shot at and why?

R: My favorite place I have shot? Man, that’s a really tough question. I’ve been fortunate enough to have photography and video take me all over the world. There are a lot of beautiful places and amazing cultures out there. As far as shooting with bikes, Independence Pass in Colorado is probably the most amazing place I’ve ever shot or ridden through. I did an overnight camping trip there with my good friend John Magee a couple summers back. It was a part of Colorado I had never seen before and it was incredible to ride.

Share with us one of the craziest things you have ever seen while on a trip or shooting?

R: The first thing that comes to mind was Adam Ihrig’s little incident on the last EDR. I’m sure everyone has his or her own version of what happened or have probably heard the story already but it was gnarly. I had just met Adam the first morning of the ride. We had made plans to do some riding together. My buddy’s bike started acting up at the border so we stopped to do some quick maintenance before crossing into Mexico. When we got going again it was Adam and the Weirdos we crossed with. Flash forward to the Circle of Death and I see Adam roll up to the track with his luchador mask on his rigid sporty. Next thing I know he is slamming into the dirt right in front of me on the track, then I see his head get bounced off the ground by the bike that was right behind him. I thought he was dead. Then he stood up and said, “Where’s my tooth.” They took him to the local hospital. As if that wasn’t crazy enough, he was back 30 minutes later to compete in the Cocktagon. I love that dude; he is invincible. Apparently the guy who ran over his head found Adam’s tooth imbedded in his foot peg.

Who or what inspires you and your work?

R: Other photographers like you Mikey! In all seriousness though, I love seeing what other photographers are doing. Whether it’s their locations, their lighting techniques or the subjects they are shooting, I benchmark them and that pushes me to create.

When did you get into motorcycles? Do you have any other family members that love bikes as much as you? 

R: My dad grew up racing dirt bikes in the 60’s and 70’s. He would just rip around on them as a kid. Unfortunately, he had some friends get hurt and killed on bikes, which put a sour taste in his mouth and caused him to quit racing. However, listening to stories about him going to races and shooting pictures of him and his friends made me want to experience bikes myself. My first bike was a 1980 Yamaha GT 80 that my stepdad bought cheap from a family friend. I learned how to ride, and crash, that thing pretty good until my stepdad took away the keys. When I first moved out to California I figured the best way to see my new home was on two wheels. Since then I’ve owned a grip of different bikes, but about four years ago I found the little Yamaha in my mom’s chicken coop. I loaded it into my truck and brought it with me back to California. It’s going to be my daughter’s bike when she is big enough to ride it.

If you could have one bike in the world, what would it be?

R: A pan or knuckle in a wishbone frame; a straightforward classic chopper, would be a dream bike.

When did you start mixing motorcycles with photography?

R: It was a few years back. I had spent a couple years working a good gig in the skate world doing video production, but I was over it. I decided to join the freelance ranks again but every time I looked at my cameras I got this sinking feeling. They just looked like the tools I had to use for work. I was getting no joy from shooting, totally uninspired, which is a bad place to be when it’s your career. I had just bought a different bike and was riding it a ton. I was so stoked every time I rode it. It made me realize that I needed to be shooting subject matter that got me stoked. I knew shooting bikes would be a good way to re-kindle my passion for photography.

What’s the most dangerous thing you have ever done? Was it on purpose?

R: I used to be pretty deep into the snowboarding game. I got caught in a couple avalanches and had some really bad slams, resulting in multiple concussions and torn tendons. So, I guess it was on purpose, but it’s not like I was trying to slam or get caught in avalanches.

Name a place you have never been to and must see before you die?

R: I’d love to go to Australia and New Zealand. I’ve heard nothing but good things about both of those places and they look amazing. I also heard you can have a Harley shipped there, ride it around the country and then sell it at the end of the trip to pay for the whole deal. But that was a while ago so maybe that’s not true anymore.

If you could go back and time and tell your 15-year-old self some advice, what would it be?

R: You’re a little punk. Start playing music and wrenching on stuff now. It’s harder to learn new things the older you get. Don’t waste your time with too many bunk girlfriends. You’ll find a good girl later, her name is Cris and she is all you’ll ever need.

What is your favorite kinda of Mexican food, burrito, chimichanga, quesadilla, other?

R: Man! Gimme a smothered chile relleno with rice and beans; wash it down with a margarita and I’m a happy, happy man.

Anyone you would like to give a shout out to or thank?

R: First and foremost, my wife, who supports me to the moon and back. My parents deserve big thanks for instilling a sense of adventure in me at a young age. My friends who allow me to follow them around and shove a camera in their faces and at their scoots. Anyone who has ever let me shoot their bike. Lisa Ballard at Chop Cult. All the other photographers in and out of the motorcycle game who keep me on my toes and who inspire me. Mikey and everyone with Fuel for thinking I’m worthy enough to share the stage with all the other talented artists, builders and photographers.

Make sure to check out Ryan's amazing photography in person at Fuel Cleveland on May 28, 2016 and to find more of his work on his IG: @_loughridge_, FB: Ryan Loughridge Media, or his website: ryanloughridge.com

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