Creative Conversations: Romain Laurent + Ryan Schude
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Romain Laurent: We both come from extreme sports type photography. And I think there are a lot people who dismiss that. But I can tell from your pictures that you have a lot of energy and whenever you need to get something done, you get it done. With skiers, you would go out in -10 degrees and get the shot no matter what.
Ryan Schude: Everything for your personal work, you need to treat it the same way because otherwise it’s not going to get done right?
Romain: When you don’t have any money, or anything, you’ll still try to get the shot. So then we you get into other things where there is money, you think, oh I can do that easily.
Ryan: Yeah. Anything is easy to do with time and money unfortunately those two things, we never have. I’m looking at your site now and I’ve been seeing this stuff all over the place. Have you done most of this stuff in Paris?
Romain: It’s a lot of New York stuff. The only problem in France is it’s hard to get people involved with big ideas and stuff. And whenever you’re in the States, people always want to get involved. Whenever I see your pictures, I don’t know how many people you have in them, but it’s crazy.
Ryan: Because everyone is trying to be an actor in LA, it’s so easy to get people to jump on board for a project. The biggest part of the problem is location, props and wardrobe, you know things you have to pay for. But talent is readily available. There is a great website called LA Casting and you just make the post and hundreds of people submit to it every time.
Romain: That’s what I did for one or two of my projects and I was shocked. I got 400 replies. And people get excited about your idea and no one looks at you weird. Especially in LA where it’s even crazier.
Ryan: So you’re saying in Paris it was even more difficult to get people on board for that type of thing?
Romain: Yeah. We’re not used to people having weird ideas. Crazy pictures and crazy projects. So did you do any school, or did you just jump in?
Ryan: Well, I went to business school first. I was still skating after high school and all through college and business school. I was trying to shoot photos of skating and that’s really what started it. When I got out of school I didn’t want to go work in an office so I went to art school for photography because I hadn’t taken any formal classes. I didn’t really know what I was going to do. So I ended up at Daily Bread because I had been shooting so much skating.
I decided I had to move to LA and start all over. So I got a job in a rental house and started assisting and created a whole new portfolio which is where all the big scenes with all of the people started happening because I was at the rental house and had all the equipment I could ask for. It just seemed like an opportunity I should take advantage of. So I was doing that for about a year until I started getting enough work where I could quit assisting and quit the rental house.
And now I’m trying to figure out how that work can build for the future. What’s next? How do I make this commercially viable because it’s half fine art and half commercial? It’s editorial, but just a little bit. It’s going to be an interesting process to see how it all develops from here. No one knows. There’s no set way to do it. But at least it’s exciting to figure it out.
Romain: That’s funny, because I’m also trying to figure out between my personal work and my advertising jobs that are less creative in a way. I’m trying to separate them. For example on my website you won’t find any commission work because I want people to familiarize themselves with the work I do now since I have had calls for things that I don’t want to do anymore. I’m also trying to figure out if I should try to get into fine art, but it’s another world. The people are different, galleries are different. I guess in the US you may be open to crazy things like this, but in France it’s a closed system.
Ryan: I feel the same way. It’s very daunting. I don’t really pursue it at all. It comes around enough that I just let it happen and let it do what it’s going to do. I’ve had the most success in Paris so far with the fine art. It seems people in Paris are more willing to at least buy prints than in America where kids show up to the galleries to more hang out and party.
Romain: It really depends on where you go actually. There’s always the hipster scene in Paris where you can get an exhibition really easily if you want to, but you won’t touch the people you need to touch. It’s interesting because I feel like people like my work more in the States, so I get respected more in there than in France. Maybe it’s because it’s exotic I guess? You’re American so people like you here?
Ryan: Yeah, it’s the novelty right?
Romain: The photos you do, it would be such hard work to get it together in France.
Ryan: So when are you moving to New York?
Ryan: Oh wow.
Romain: It’s been a transition. It’s been two months. It’s been everything from exciting to scary. I enjoy New York and the States because it’s such a playground as far as landscapes and locations.
Ryan: Yeah, everything is at your fingertips. New York is one of the most amazing places I’ve been to. But you really need to have the energy to deal with it. It’s also very trying. I guess Paris is kind of the same. They’re both amazing metropolises where it is so high energy. It kind of beats you up. LA is funny, it’s lazy in a sense. It’s easy to exist in without having to fight as much.