Ryan Plakonouris is currently a professional photographer making his home in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. He has been able to combine his passions for photography and his love for giving through WorldPix. Let’s take a few minutes to meet the man and his photography.
Photography, or cameras, has been in his life since Ryan was a small boy. His father, Iky, has been a photographic technician where he fixes cameras for a living. Thus, there was no hope for Ryan, his destiny of being a professional photographer was set early. However, it was a long and winding road to get there.
The journey started as a small boy of 8 when Iky gave Ryan a camera while at a motocross event. “Start shooting,” he said. So, Ryan shot. He shot well enough that one of his photos was used on the front page of the next motocross media guide. During the ensuing years, he continued to try his hand at photography but admittedly he was not very good.
Conservation then piqued his interest and he earned his degree from University. Still unsure of what he really wanted, Ryan went into the bush, changed careers often, and came out ready to tackle whatever came his way. He started in hospitality management which led to a career in architectural photography (photographing the interiors of lodges, hospitality properties, and hotels). Now, photography is the basis for his entire career where he has added leading safaris to his repertoire.
When asked who (or what) is his inspiration, Ryan took no time in stating, “I do this mostly for my dad, to make him proud.” There is no doubt he has done so.
Ryan is highly critical of his own work. His guiding principle for an image is, “If you ask a question about the image, it makes more of an impact. If it doesn’t ask a question, then you forget about it.” Knowing this, let’s take a look at some of Ryan’s work. Do you ask a question when you look at Ryan’s images?
|Lion. There was a soft wind blowing while the sun was peaking through the clouds which was a perfect combination for this shot of the male lion. The light was sweet which perfectly illuminated the face and mane. The color balance between the sky, lion, and grass makes for a nice color composition.|
|Rwanda Tea. Shot from a helicopter provides a unique view of a Rwanda tea plantation. The boys running through makes you take a second look, asking yourself why they are running and to where they are running.|
|Rwanda Girl. Her eyes speak volumes. She is looking strait down the lens right into your soul.|
|Black Rhino. Ryan’s image captured this critically endangered animal in its typical pose. In color the rhino does not stand out from the background. But in black & white, the contrast as striking. Ryan likes the mud on the very sharp horn. Where was the horn?|
|Elephants. This is a beautiful image demonstrating affectionate elephants’ behavior. When you combine the behavior with the eye contact, you get a very engaging image.|
|Giraffe. This is a very simple image with beautiful coloring in the sky. Ryan is quite critical as he wished the Giraffe was standing on the mound so the viewer can see its feet. Even without the feet showing as the silhouette conveys something different to everyone who looks at it.|