Ryan Joseph Chahanovich

Ryan Joseph Chahanovich

My work is primarily abstract, and purely analog - photographed, processed, and printed as such. The space and time of place transmuted to form, line, and color. An aspiring technophobe and luddite, all of my imagery is captured with a toy plastic camera with more miles on it than a long haul trucker. 

I'm inspired mostly by poets and painters - those that have come well before and known slower ways of living and left behind the clues for the rest of us. Williams and Thomas and Turner and Rousseau.

My philosophy could, or could not - who's to say and on what day - come down to presence. Be present with the thing you are making, so present that even the process of it's creation doesn't get in the way of experiencing that thing, or place, or time. If it’s true, the viewer can feel that presence and it becomes their own.

  • Story

    A zigzag menagerie really and probably more than is required. Began early in the auditory world. The first decade of my creative career was spent as a recording engineer at studios in Austin, TX and San Francisco, CA. On the side I taught myself film photography by breaking in every night at 2am to the local co-op darkroom. I connected the two worlds - shooting promos and live sets for artists and landed shots in Modern Drummer, Seattle Times, Recording Magazine and a few other long defunct rags of a primarily lower ilk that paid in little other than access. 

    A crisis of ego led me to drop everything and start anew. So the next 6 years were spent leading adventure camps for people with disabilities - mountain climbing with autistic youth in Aspen, surfing with the physically disabled at home in Hawaii. On the side I was moonlighting as an FM radio DJ and slowly rediscovering my camera.

    The case for abstraction, that reset my connection to the image, was a surf trip to mexico with my holga camera. I began with wanton abandon shooting strange multiple exposures - rotating the camera in odd intervals. I wanted no trace, or sense of place captured - only a motion, a feeling of form. And so a series, and an obsession, and a sentence starting with an and were born. 

    Traveled the next two years to Sri Lanka, Japan, Hong Kong and road tripped throughout the mainland shooting hundreds of images for the Now/Here series, which is ongoing. Just before the (no need to mention the name of the multi headed dragon that has slain 2020), my obsession lead me to build a community darkroom in Chinatown (The Darkroom Underground) the primary focus of which is manual processing and printing of color film.

    Being a primarily hermetic outsider artist can lead to, and is thought to be the leading cause of, typing too much information into small boxes.

  • Info








    ryan.chahanovich@gmail .com


    Honolulu, HI. 96816