We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Dearth and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started my business almost exactly ten years ago, which is wild to think about. Back then, I was young and dumb, but I had a lot of heart and passion for photography. At the time, I felt that I would regret not trying to start a photography career – I was working a corporate job in an industry I felt I didn’t belong in, but I was making good money, saving up and practicing photography as much as I could. And I was having a lot of fun outside of work. I looked at my life and saw some of the benefits, but mostly I saw drawbacks when I looked ten years into my future on the path I was walking. I wanted to create something – not just photography, but a business, and my own life. Without thinking too much, I let my emotions get the best of me and I quit my job to start on my own. When I look back, I see myself as so foolish! There was so much that I didn’t even realize that I had to learn, and so much of it was stuff I could have figured out while I still had a steady paycheck coming in! If I had stayed on for another 6 months or a year, I might have been able to start the business in a totally different way. On the other hand, I remember feeling miserably unchallenged, and I was really terrified of getting complacent where I was at, and I think that was for good reason. I saw the miserable bind that some of my older superiors were in and I wondered if I would be in the same position if I stayed. Or if I could change the outcome of my own life if I walked my own line. I do sometimes wonder if I had stuck around my job a little longer what may have happened, but looking back at things, I don’t regret my decision one bit. It’s been one hell of a ride, with some incredible opportunities I would never have otherwise had. Ten years later and I’m grateful for my foolish self of 2010.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Creativity and art are funny concepts. Every time I think I have something figured out, something throws me on my ass and I have to take a hard look at what I’m doing and why. Occasionally, it amounts to blowing everything up and rebuilding from scratch, but more often it means making small adjustments in course – reframing a mindset, looking at a problem from a different perspective, or just digging in a little deeper to understand the “why” more completely. I think these small adjustments make all the difference in standing out and solidifying my vision and brand as an artist. I’m not always a detail-oriented person, but when I’m really passionate about an idea and I’m digging deep into what it means and why it’s important, the details become just as significant as the ‘bones’ of the project. Ultimately, I think it’s the details that take a good project and make it something great.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’ve been in Denver for more than 12 years now, and I love it. I’ve seen it grow and change so much in that time, and I think the culture is becoming really interesting. My ideal itinerary for a (long and busy) day in Denver (in non-pandemic times) would include breakfast at Lucille’s, a long walk through Cheeseman Park, a taco tour around Federal and Alameda including at least 3 fantastic taco spots – maybe Los Gallitos, El Taco de Mexico, and the taco truck on 7th and Federal? Then we would walk the tacos off with ice cream from Little Man followed by a late afternoon cocktail on a patio in LoHi – El Five comes to mind. If it were a special occasion, maybe dinner at Fruition or trying out the Wolf’s Tailor. From there, we’d head to a gallery show at Pattern Denver (the gallery and photographic community that I’m a part of). And finally, a nightcap at a classic and comfortable spot like the Thin Man.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
This is a bit nebulous, but the people who have advocated for and championed my photography. That’s everyone from my family to my friends, my clients to my photo assistants. Just about every great job I’ve ever gotten has rested on people who believed in me and weren’t afraid to share that with others. Marketing and sales techniques are important, but champions actually fight for you and support you when you need them. Because of this, I make it a habit to champion other friends and photographers whenever I truly believe in their talent and skillsets.
My profile picture is credit to Miguel De Leon