Hello. I am a native New Orleanian whose family roots in the region date back to the 1750s. I am a graduate of Loyola University New Orleans. I grew up as an artist – working with pencil and charcoal – creating drawings of people, places, and everything in between. Photography became an integral part of my life in 2011 when I was diagnosed with Leukemia. It provided an outlet of creativity and reflection that was immensely therapeutic. It remains so to this day. My objective with every photograph is to create something that reflects how I felt viscerally at that place and time. I strive to please my own eye first and subsequently hope that others connect to the photograph as well. I know I’ve succeeded when I still continue to look at photographs I’ve seen hundreds of times over the years. You can see more of my photography at ryanlips.com.
Artist + Ryan Lips
Describe your art in three words.
Dimensional. Intimate. Welcoming.
Describe yourself in one word.
What do you love the most about creating art in your community? What particular part of your immediate environment, in your neighborhood specifically influences your work?
South Louisiana is incredibly fertile ground for finding beauty in both the obvious and the obscure. The diversity of climate here also provides a myriad of ways to capture the same scene depending on time of day or year. But the beauty of the most obvious like The Tree of Life or the St. Louis Cathedral are also complemented by the beauty of the forlorn and forgotten. In a region as rich in cultural history as ours is, the well is never dry for subjects to shoot in ways that capture an essence which allows the viewer to narrate their own story. That's how I hope my photography speaks to people - as a conduit for them to make their own connection.
Describe your creative process. Are there any rituals or rites of passage you exercise before you begin a new piece?
I do as much research as possible using Google Maps and Google Earth to scout locations at different times of day so I can get a good sense of when the light is most flattering or most conducive to the image I'm trying to create. I try to see the composition in my head clearly and without prejudice before I take the photograph. Photography is a very personal endeavor for me, and as a somewhat extreme introvert, my subjects are often those that have a tangible detachment from people, either by time of day or location.
Where do you draw inspiration?
Light and depth. Those are the two things I look for in any composition - the relationship between objects and structures and how the light accentuates their existence.
Who are your artistic influences or gurus?
As a self taught photographer with no formal training, I wasn't exposed to many of the iconic photographers or artists of the last 100 years so I wouldn't say there are any tangible influences in my work. There are certainly artists whose work I admire tremendously and my work is likely an amalgam of the work I have seen out in the wild.
In New Orleans, art and music go hand in hand. What type of music, band or song lyric best describes your work?
Progressive and ambient music are my go-to genres when I'm looking for creative inspiration. In particular, Jonsi Birgisson and Alex Somers are two artists who I find inspiration in from a musical standpoint. Their ascending harmonies mimic the experience I try to create in my photographs - not one of instant gratification but a process of discovery.
Where can we find you when you are not creating art?
Nothing makes me happier than the open road whether in the context of my photography or not. Exploring undiscovered places with the freedom of an uncertain destination fills my time when day-to-day life allows.
What is your favorite time of day/day of the week/month of the year?
Sunrise always offers the best atmospheric light and the months between September and November.
What is something people don’t know about you? A fun fact.
I am the only two-time Louisiana spelling bee champion. Truly a feather in my cap :)
Works listed online may be available to be viewed at Where y’Art Works Gallery by appointment.
You May Also Like
Meet the Artists
Local art is the lifeblood of our culture and communities. We source work from hundreds of painters, muralists, sculptors, metal workers, printmakers, illustrators, photographers, and textile artists, every one of whom is part of your local community.
Location All / Greater New Orleans / Greater Baton Rouge / North Louisiana / Mississippi Gulf Coast
Create your Account
With an account you can save favorite works, create collections, send messages to artists, store your shipping info, and more
I am an artist
Already a member? Sign in here
Don't have an account? Sign up here