Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I found a box of old B&W prints dating from my Mexico City days and was immediately transported in the Way Back Machine to those dusty years. Here's a few of what I found.

Back in the early '70s I was enjoying an extended visit with a friend in Northern California who persuaded me to buy a pretty nifty Mercier racing bike. I began to ride all over the hills of Sonoma County, taking on mountains and grades the just thought of which makes me shudder these days. I got pretty strong and nimble with that wonderful machine however, so one night was stung by the insane notion bee with the idea that it would be a grand adventure to ride the thing back to Mexico City, where I was then residing.

(All my most dangerous ideas come in the early morning but I've still not learned to say no.)

I took this next photo in Hermosillo, Sonora, sometime into the second week of my grand tour. A kid at the local Chamber of Commerce invited me to spend my few days in town at his house, which I very much appreciated. This little baby was the new one in the household and the family loved that I took so many pictures of him. They used to give him his bath in an old corrugated water bucket, and that photo is my favorite. I'll have to look for the negative.

This was one of the first stops on my journey, somewhere around Sonoita. (By this time I was already wondering what the hell I'd gotten myself into.)

These kids are probably in their 40s today, I hope.

The original was a Kodachrome but it works fine as a B&W.

This was taken sometime later, after I was back home in Mexico City. I approached the young cop in the Paddy wagon and asked him if I could take a picture. He immediately went into his rendition of a formal pose, something that used to happen quite often when I would photograph Mexicans of a more humble origin. A portrait was a big deal and not to be taken lightly and of course, one wanted to present one's best side!

The cops in Mexico are no longer like this and I'd surely hesitate to approach any these days with a camera.

When this photo was taken, I was stringing for A.P., Newsweek and the N.Y. Times so got to go along on the new President's (Echeverria) road trips. I was in my early 20's, had long hair and was borderline "hipi" by Mexican standards but I still got away with showing up in some pretty unexpected places. Not that I wasn't being observed most of the time, like this Presidential Guard is doing. He was probably thinking "What the hell is this gringo doing out here with the Prez?"

We were getting ready to leave the beautiful island of Cozumel, where the President had just met with the then dictator of Nicaragua, President Somoza. Remember him? I know I must have a few pics of him around here somewhere.

My next installment will be a few images that I think have fairly important historical significance, at least for those into Mexican culture and history. They document my adventure into the mountains of Oaxaca to partake in the ceremony of the "magic mushrooms" with the very famous shaman Maria Sabina. That was a trip indeed!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Time To Get This Thing On the Road!


I haven't blogged since selling my t-shirt company (Going Postal T-shirts) last summer, so it's time I got serious about my photographic endeavors once more and get it in gear.
Up front, I'll tell you this is about both the promotion of my photography and the promotion of my self. (They might be the same when it comes right down to it.) And that will be my one and only admission of this shameless fact, though it will no doubt appear obvious as we go along.

I've been a photographer for about forty years and have an immense collection of work, mostly in color transparencies (Kodachrome!) and B&W negatives but, alas, very little of it has been scanned yet. Consequently, most of what I'll be posting will be recent digital work. Does it matter?

Sometimes I'll get a hair up my posterior and put up a photo just because I like it, knowing full well I may be the only one in the known universe who does. When that happens feel free to let me have your unqualified judgment in no uncertain terms. It's ok - I'll be all right.

I may often pull work of my website (David Ryan Photography) because I want to bring attention to it, but it could also be because I've already done the work on it and don't feel like fooling with a newer one. So if you're familiar with the work on my site, don't be surprised when that happens!

So enough! I want to get down to pitchers!

The Boise Tea Party -

This series was the the latest opportunity I've had to get out and do something I really like to do: circulate in crowds and take random portraits. My first attempts at this were back in the '60's and '70's in Mexico City. Many of those were political protests as well and, I must say, somewhat more risky than mixing with these good folks.

Franklin has to be one of the most loveable of all the Founding Fathers and he was certainly one of the most outspoken of a very voluble lot, so it takes a certain gumption to act his role. This fellow wore his part rather well and did a good job of it I think .

Contrary to what many in the press would have one believe, these events were actually good places for the kids. I know that in Boise they were safer in these crowds than most other public places (including their schools)and they had a good time to boot. Looking through the throngs to get these types of shots was fun!

Another example of looking through the openings in the crowd. Invariably, this was the reaction I would receive - all smiles!

I couldn't help but like this guy!

For a more complete selection of Boise's Tea Party, just click HERE!