Born: Niagara Falls, NY
Resides: Jamaica Plain, MA
Ryan Arthurs received an MFA in Photography from Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2012 and a BFA in Studio Art from Carleton College in 2005. He currently teaches photography at Harvard University. Prior to moving to Boston, Ryan spent two years living in Sun Valley, ID working at the Gail Severn Gallery before moving to San Francisco, CA where he continued working for various artists and fine art galleries.
Since the age of seven, Ryan has spent his summers paddling and portaging through the northern woods of Ontario and Quebec. He writes, "I've navigated the watersheds of the Algonquin highlands, descended the rivers into the Ottawa Valley and paddled the tidal waters of James Bay. Much like an early explorer, my travels via cedar canvas canoe allowed me access to some of Canada's most pristine and remote wilderness habitats." These experiences have influenced him, both personally and spiritually, and inspired his interest in the landscape and the history we share with those who have traveled, settled and inhabited the land before us.
As a photographer, Ryan's work focuses on themes related to masculine identity, literally exploring the boundaries and spaces where men go to assert their strength and prove themselves. Previous photographic series have focused on military men, outdoorsmen and adventure sports, like white-water kayaking, where men test the limits of their courage, flirt with danger, experience adrenaline and rely on the bonds of friendship for survival. In the summer of 2012, Ryan paddled over 800 kilometers following Labrador's George River, from its source near Labrador City across the peninsula to Ungava Bay in the north. The photographs from his journey explore the daunting physical and spiritual commitment it takes to cross a body of land and the importance of companionship in an uninhabited country. Ryan recently published his first book, The Height of Land, with Houseboat Press in Somerville, MA.