city photography: all the ways to sauce
Quick intro. I’m Annie, co-owner of Sauce Photography. I also write the blog so often times you’ll find me either talking or writing. Or both. Simply put, I love words. But we aren’t here to learn about me. WAIT. Why are we here? Sauce. We are here because, Sauce. If I didn’t lose you yet:
Ryan Downie is an exceptionally talented side-hustle photographer and co-owner of Sauce Photography in Philadelphia. He also happens to be my fiancé and many other lovely things but please, let’s stay on track. I know you automatically think I’m going to have bias. But the truth is, I am not. Not about this, anyway. The untrained Philly guy I’m marrying takes some photographs with authenticity, rawness, and some grit. Reminds me of Philadelphia as a city.
Ryan, the creative mind and artistic soul of Sauce, thinks he is a poor communicator. Many times he, for lack of a better phrase, doesn’t deal with things. (A nice way to say he procrastinates, practices avoidance, ignores. I would say it’s a favorite pastime of his.) Suffice it to say Ryan does not have the love affair with words that I do. His explanations, discussions and his understanding of things shine through in his art form. There is solace in his photos, and a calm in the voice that radiates from them.
[Full disclosure. Below interview: A totally off the cuff question and answer session. After a long day, Ryan’s demeanor shifted pleasantly when I asked about his hobby turned side-hustle. His shoulders dropped comfortably and his tone of voice softened. I could tell he liked talking to me about it, and he did so with detail and confidence.]
Annie: Which photograph did you take and know this was more than a hobby for you?
Ryan: The one on the big wall above the sink in the kitchen. (Editor’s note: This is a 30 x 40 shot Ryan took of Interstate-76 upon entering Philly. The black and white skyline is crisp and clear but the movement of the vehicle blurs the highway. One of my favorites as well, you can see it below.) That photo on that day I said “wow” to myself. I thought man, this is one cool ass picture. That was a couple years ago. That was taken with my cellphone.
A: Which feelings came up for you when you realized this was a hobby you had to make into more? Was it a gradual fall into love for photography or an instant passion and instant gratification thing?
R: It was gradual because I took that highway picture, wait—honestly I didn’t think about it really. Then, it was a hobby. I’m shy, you know that. Photography brings joy to me. I couldn’t imagine true joy from a job. So you don’t ever say something to me about one of these, I would not have told a soul.
A: What makes taking photos bring you peace?
R: I enjoy the whole newness aspect—getting a shot of something in a way you or anyone hasn’t seen before. Like I put a new lens on the same city you grew up in. New eyes, new perspective. I think that if you love your work and love your own style, hopefully others follow suit. If not, you have a cool hobby.
A: Lots of friends and family members noticed and commented on your talent over the past couple years. A few even asked to buy your work. Where does Sauce Photography as a business fit into your life? How will you pursue this endeavor with all your other commitments?
R: I wish I knew the answer. I mean, it fits because it has to. I can’t put this on the back burner and say it’s not the time. Listen, my nature is to be an observer. I’m hyper-aware of people and things happening around me. Actions, feelings— I have an ability to feel feelings of people sometimes and it’s so intense and as special as this is, it can be a hindrance to life. Photography has helped me stop a lot of that and lately I can take a step back. With pictures, I see things as a paused moment in time. Driving, walking, sitting, anything I’m doing— I can get a person waiting and talking at a bus stop to a plain old cup of coffee on my desk. If it intrigues me in any way, I take the picture. I started with my cell phone so I figured there was lots more to learn.
A: Let’s say you choose the Philadelphia Museum of Art to shoot— a famous landmark with a ton of photos already. How do you envision your shot being different?
R: To me it’s like how can I shoot the city and a place like the Art Museum but make the viewer to step back and say woah, every time. That’s my goal.
A: Goals. What are you trying to do here?
R: Tons, if you have anything to do with it. (He teases but Ryan adores my never-ending business ideas that will solve the world, one problem at a time, right? At this point, hope so!)
A: Ryan, what makes you different than everyone in this saturated market? What makes Sauce Photography unique?
R: You and I have two minds that go together and this works, just like us. We fit and Sauce fits. I want to take photos and you want to use those photos in the business world to make a difference, right? So we will. If I know anything about you, it’s you don’t stop ‘til you get what you want. And if all else fails, I still got you, babe.
A: Yes, Ry, yes you do. Guess it’s time for these folks to decide on their own. We know what I think. But hey, I’m biased.
Time for boss lady to sign off. Boss with the Sauce. (I won’t say that again, I promise.) Please let us know what we can create for you.