BEAVERCREEK — When Ryan Taylor was in first grade at Main Elementary in Beavercreek, his art teacher told the class to take photography when they got to high school. Taylor remembered that all the way to 10th grade, when he took his first digital photography class.
Almost eight years later, Taylor is one of the visiting artists at the ARTery Gallery at Front Street Art in Dayton. The ARTery houses the work of over 15 artists in many genres. Taylor’s work has been there since July and will be there through August.
He said photography has kept his attention all these years because of his determination and passion for it.
“It’s just kind of this motivation to explore and see what’s out there,” he said.
Taylor, who lives in Beavercreek, said the photos he included in his exhibit at the ARTery are the “greatest hits” of his work, featuring birds, wildflowers and waterfalls. He also photographs sunrises, sunsets and landscapes.
After Taylor graduated from Beavercreek High School in 2015, he began spending time in nature to relax. He brought his camera along and took pictures of everything he saw. He also took virtual photography classes from the New York Institute of Photography, graduating in 2017.
He typically is alone when he takes photos, but he likes to share what he captures with family and friends. He said it’s powerful when he’s able to connect with people through a photograph they enjoy or that reminds them of something in their life.
At receptions at the ARTery, which occur twice every month, he sits near his work and answers questions or starts conversations with people who seem interested in a piece.
Though this is the first time he’s been on exhibit at the ARTery, Taylor has shown his work at the Senior Center in Beavercreek and at the Village Artisans in Yellow Springs. He is a member of the Village Artisans and, as of this weekend, the ARTery.
He has also sold photos on his website, Ryan L. Taylor Photography, for the last year-and-a-half.
Melanie Morrett, the marketing coordinator for the ARTery, invited Taylor to exhibit his work there.
Morrett, who is also a member of the Village Artisans and the ARTery, met Taylor at a Village Artisans show where he submitted work.
She said she was impressed by how professional and polite he was — she remembered that he wore a button-down shirt and tie — and that he’s continued to be that way. She appreciates that he comes to the receptions at the ARTery because not all artists do.
She said she also thinks he is a good photographer with a great future.
“His photography, I feel, is beyond his years,” she said.
Morrett, who has created etchings and monotype prints for over 35 years, said Taylor always places his subjects off-center, which is an important element of artistic composition. She also said his work makes her stop and notice small things, like flowers, that she wouldn’t normally observe.
“He’s an artist with a camera,” she said.
Though he takes as many photos as he can, Taylor said he only shows the world the ones he thinks are the best. For him, a photo worthy of landing on his website and social media must have good lighting and an element that will surprise his audience, like the reflection in a lake or a hidden waterfall.
To further surprise viewers, he seeks to be experimental with his work, allowing camera motion or wind to blur a subject, among other techniques.
“All of this is basically to capture fleeting moments in time as well as challenge my audience to see the natural world in a whole new way,” Taylor said in a text message.
Taylor said nature has always been a part of his life: he grew up camping, fishing and hiking with his family. Now he wants to protect nature through his work.
When he posts photos online, he uses the captions to highlight any endangered species in the frame. He also shares photos and donations with organizations like the National Wildlife Federation, the Sierra Club and the National Audubon Society.
Not only does Taylor want to protect the natural world, he said he also wants to explore it.
He photographs places like Little Beaver Creek and the Beaver Creek Wetland Corridor. Some days, he’s outside for two hours. Others, he’s out until sunset. Most of the year, including winter, he goes out once or twice a week.
In springtime, as he tries to capture changing foliage and migrating birds, he could be outside for many hours several days out of the week.
He said he moves quickly from subject to subject: if a bird flies away, he’ll switch to shooting a flower.
“There’s just so much to see out there,” he said, “You know, I’m quite a few years into it now, with the photo-taking, but I feel like I haven’t really scratched the surface.”
The gallery has open hours every first Friday of the month from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. and every third Sunday of the month from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Taylor will be there to chat with gallery viewers about his work.
Madeleine Mosher is an intern for Greene County News.