His affinity for analogue photography began when Ryan was growing up in the 1980s. Film was a common medium then, and his earliest memory of the process was looking through the negatives of travel images taken by his grandfather. It provided entertainment for a young Ryan, who grew up without the Internet. “It sort of rubbed off on me,” he says.
His fascination with the medium led him to pursue film studies at Ngee Ann Polytechnic. When he got engaged, he wanted to recreate his parents’ wedding photo, complete with the same nostalgic setting and usage of old-school photography. “I was looking for a photo studio in Singapore, and realised I couldn’t find any,” notes Ryan. “They all sort of died out, or changed their business,” says Ryan.
He even tried sourcing for studios in Malaysia and around the region. “Most of them have progressed to digital photography,” he says. “It's kind of sad.” But it also sparked an idea in him: that he could open his own studio and recreate a photography experience from his parents' time.
“I have always liked to go back to how things were before, like the roots of photography,” adds Ryan. From there, venturing into the wet-plate process was simply a “natural progression”.