Ryan Sumner

“Sacred and Profane Love” by Ryan Sumner will be on display the month of June.

Ryan SumnerRyan Sumner wanted to be an artist as long as he can remember—initially starting with drawing and painting. Sumner started making photographic images when he was 15, when he was gifted a then twenty-year-old film camera and the discovery that a camera could break the ice with girls he was otherwise too scared to talk to.

Sumner’s professional work started in lifestyle magazines, creating fashion editorials and other types of stories before transitioning to commercial photographic work.

His specialist areas are on-location studio headshots and environmental executive portraits, business-in-action photojournalism, aviation images for brokers, and architecture. Clients who’ve trusted him with their important imagery include American Airlines, US Steel, Deloitte, TIAA, Met Life, Dixon Hughes Goodman, Playboy, MTV, HBO, Sailor Jerry, the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, and a collection of large banks you’ve surely heard of — Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Ally Financial.

Artist Statement:

I’m drawn to photographing human figures in landscapes as an exploration of ancient nature-based spirituality, as well as concepts of birth, sex, and (increasingly) mortality. The figure’s surface, shapes, angles, textures, and the tensions in and between bodies fascinate me.
In nude figures, I find a powerful symbol of self—with the subjects standing in for my own psyche.

I often draw upon Catholic and other religious iconographies, particularly where they intersect with shame, identity, and sexuality. Many of my images explore feelings of isolation, self-imposed captivity, and conversely, peace, tranquility, and fulfillment.

I use a variety of tools to make images—digital, large format 4×5-inch film, and antique medium format stereo cameras, as well as alternative printing processes. Many of my images are incased in resin or covered with encasuic wax.

This artist is previously a recipient of grants from the Arts and Science Council and North Carolina Arts Council.

The Artisan Palate