// Ryan McBride is a Canadian photographer based in Winnipeg, a city whose layers and textures have been the main preoccupation of his photographic practice. In Surface Tension Ryan captured magic on and through a window in his own house during a lock-down.
“My personal photography challenges me to keep looking and seeing closely and carefully. I believe the camera looks inward as much as it looks outward, and by interpreting what I see rather than merely representing it, I can better convey my own ideas, dreams, anxieties and emotions,” says Ryan.
“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving.”
What draws you to the arts?
“I’ve arranged my whole adult life to make room for as much art-making and art experiences as possible. The act of art-making keeps me sane and grounded, and engaging in the art of others opens my eyes (and heart) to new ways of seeing, understanding, and appreciating the world around me.”
What do you like best about artful abstract photography such as the images you have shared with us?
“I love that making this series taught me that you don’t have to go far to find compelling subject matter for powerful pictures. Building these images forced me to step up my technique and my creativity, and drove me to explore abstract painting for the first time. What gratified me most was the number of people who said these images drew them in and awoke all kinds of unexpected feelings and emotions — which is always my highest goal.”
This series, Surface Tension, arose out of an urgent need to make pictures during the dead of winter and a pandemic lockdown. The light from the sunset in the back window of Ryan´s house caught his eye one day, and he began exploring it with a macro lens. Over the next few weeks, he saw different kinds of light interacting with the ice and moisture on the layers of window glass. “I loved the variety of dramatic abstract images and landscapes I could make without having to leave a tiny room. Throughout this series, I play what is happening on the surface of the glass against the glimpses of background detail (trees, rooftops), and explore contrasting areas of sharpness, blur and bokeh to build a layered visual circus.”
Many of these digital images also include in-camera double or multiple exposures, which allows Ryan to construct more complex stories. In most cases, he enhanced or manipulated the colours to wring out as much drama and emotion as he could from a given scene, as an antidote to what can otherwise be a frigid, isolating season.
Click on the photos to see a larger image. Artwork titles are also contained in the image file name.