At Nations Foundation we have the privilege of collaborating with a wide variety of creatives who are not only accomplished at their craft but use that craft to highlight beauty and advance God’s kingdom. Ryan Longnecker is one of these folks. A Los Angeles-based photographer, Ryan provokes wonder with every photograph he captures. We were honored when he agreed to shoot portraits of Open Doors CEO David Curry for volume one of Nations Journal. Read on to get to know Ryan!
How did you end up in photography?
I ended up in photography by accident. On my path around different types of art degrees, I landed in music and my senior year of college I decided to work as photographer for the yearbook. That year was when I had a camera in my hand every day and grew to love and respect the craft, especially photojournalism, landscape, and portraiture.
What would you say makes a compelling photograph?
A compelling photograph is one that invites questions or commands silence. Sometimes the questions are “how was that done?” or “where in the world is that?” or “what happened to lead up to this?”. Light, composition, rules, subject, scale, texture, and time all help tell stories, but those elements on their own will leave a photograph with a short half-life and will eventually wash away.
What do you feel you are created to do with your life?
I feel I am called to tell creative stories of the kingdom of heaven as it already exists in our world and to love everyone at all costs. I feel I am called to compel others through living a life that doesn’t give in to the temptation of empire, consumerism, and capitalism, and instead moves toward community, generosity, and genuine love.
How do you think your creative medium could change the world?
If we can tell stories better, more people pay attention. The more that people pay attention, the better we can inspire people toward beauty and show people that there is so much beauty already there. The more that people invest in beauty, the less they see others as competition and enemies. If we stop seeing each other as enemies then we can start to be neighbors and friends.
What piece of advice would you give to all of the aspiring photographers out there?
Do something creative or beautiful every day, and absorb the variety of art in the world. Some days you will be passionate, some days you won’t, but the more you remind yourself of the passion that drives you, and the more you work to make the world a beautiful place, you’ll get inspired more often and by more sources than you could have imagined. Oh, and put your camera down from time to time and just absorb a moment.