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About Del Ryder... and the winding road

I lived in Japan for two years and studied Zen Buddhism and Taoism*. I bought my first 35mm camera there to document my experiences and learned the basics of photography from the camera manual and library books. Studying photography and Zen simultaneously had a dynamic influence on my life. 



Returning home, I attended Syracuse University to major in Psychology. Photography was important to me, so I used my electives to select courses from the S.I. Newhouse School of  Public Communications / Journalism and the Art School that taught Color and black and white printing techniques.


Del Ryder Fine Art Photographer

Frank Hoy, a professor at Newhouse, encouraged me to change my major to photojournalism. I was close to graduation and hadn't considered photography as a profession, so I stayed the course. After graduation I became a counselor and used most of my free time for photography, an advanced hobby for me, and won awards in local photography exhibitions.


The State University of N.Y. was searching for an Adjunct Professor of Photography at their Tompkins-Cortland Campus. I applied and accepted the position to teach a three credit hour course each semester. At that time I was the Director of PhotoVisions Gallery in Syracuse, N.Y. As Director, I was also responsible for the curation of eight photography exhibitions. 


A staff member at the Everson Museum of Art in Syracuse viewed my photographs at one of our group shows and encouraged me to show my portfolio to their Director. After meeting with him it was decided I would exhibit twenty photographs from my new color work he viewed that day When the Everson exhibit closed my photographs were entered into the permanent collection. I had arrived at that "fork in the road" Robert Frost wrote about. 


Photography was my passion, so I decided to pursue photography full time. It had to be in the form of a career... something that would pay the bills, so I opened a commercial studio. I was interested in fine art and studio still life photography, so I bought a Horseman 4x5 view camera and a Schneider 210 mm lens and assembled a portfolio of thirty 4x5 transparencies and then scheduled meetings with local advertising agencies. At the close of my very first portfolio review I was awarded an advertising assignment. A transparency from that assignment was used in a television commercial in New York and that one photograph paid all of our bills for an entire month. For me, that was a proof positive sign... that I made the right decision in 're-inventing' myself as a professional photographer. Doing what you love and then being paid for it is as good as it gets.


With continued success in advertising photography, I decided to move my family to the rapidly growing business sector of Orange County California. I opened a studio for product and food photography serving local, national and international clients.** My photographs were used in television commercials, annual reports, magazine advertising, packaging, brochures, and trade shows. I won awards for my advertising photography from ADDOC  (Art Directors & Designers of Orange County) at their annual awards ceremonies.


As a full time commercial photographer, I continued to pursue fine art photography participating in twenty five exhibits in the U.S. and Canada. I believe the 'dual track' I originally set out on... fine art photography and commercial photography, benefited both forms of my work. Now, as a retired commercial photographer, I can be out 'on the road' devoting more time to my fine art photography. I am excited about the new images I've captured recently and even more excited about the ones I'll see tomorrow. 


*Mushin no Shin (No-Mind), Japanese, is a mind not fixed by thought or emotion and therefore open to anything. Zen and Taoist meditators attempt to reach this state as do artists and trained martial artists. They also practice this mental state during everyday activities.  Core Zen beliefs are as follows: Everything changes. Everything is connected. Pay attention. I am able to put this state of mind to good use in my life as well as my photography.


**A Partial Client list:

Allergan, Apple Macintosh, Avis, Beatrice Hunt-Wesson, Bentley Mills, Breyers, Coca Cola, Del Mar Avionics, FireTrac, F.X. Matt Brewing Co., ICN Pharmaceuticals, Ingram Micro, Knudsen, Lawry's, Marathon, Inc., Philips Electronics, Ocean Pacific (Swimwear), Orange Coast Magazine, Quantum Health Resources, Taco Bell, TRW (Northrop Grumman).

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