I was born in South Africa but emigrated mid-teens to this little country called England.
Like many who have experienced emigration at a young age, it was a tough experience leaving everything I knew to be normal.
I was however soon grateful that Art was a part of the school curriculum in England, a subject that I had only dreamed of having at my school in South Africa.
My artistic appetite was starving and in desperate need of the creative freedom, I then received at The Marlborough School in Woodstock.
Quite honestly, I had no idea what to do with it all!
My teacher, Mrs Coulson, sadly passed away recently but I remember her answering most of my requests for assistance with, "...it's YOUR interpretation Ryan... it can look however you want it to".
Where I came from, there was ALWAYS a right and a wrong way, so accepting the creative flow was new to me. I got "elbows deep" in oil paints, water-colours, chalk, graphite, clay, textiles and developer chemicals.
I became hooked on photography somewhere between 16 and 17 but had no idea it could even materialise into paid work. I still thought I was going to be an architect, a fashion designer, a fine art painter, and a helicopter pilot.
At the age of 17, I was invited to regularly contribute to "Aggressive Inline" sports magazine.
That was in 1996 when the aggressive inline ( extreme Rollerblading ) was at its peak in popularity. I was a skateboarder and surfer myself, and extreme sports was an industry I was keen to be a part of.
This opportunity was the first indicator to me that it was indeed possible for me to earn money from my artistic brain and it really lit a fire in me.
I borrowed my dad´s Minolta X300 SLR and started throwing myself in harm's way, lying upside down on stairs to photograph skaters hurtling toward my head!
Such good times.
Photography actually lead me to work as a SCUBA instructor years later and for eight years I used that to see as much of the world as I could.
I enjoyed incredible experiences with Humpback whales, Dolphins, Sharks and sunken shipwrecks.
One of the most amazing rewards was introducing people to a stunning world and the privilege of seeing them respond to a truly unique experience.
Many people had anxiety going into it for the first time, but seeing that sudden change in a person's eyes when they suddenly get it and realise they´re breathing effortlessly underwater was priceless.
Helping people to relax, gain confidence and then being a part of something so special in a persons life experiences is a reward that cannot be beaten!
I can often enjoy the same thrills when coaching nervous people in front my lens.
I have had an unwavering desire to create images for a living, so I returned to photography in 2013. Aiming to work with people and businesses wishing to improve their brand marketing through imagery, I relaunched my business.
I´m regularly inspired by the vision, goals and motivations of the people I meet, which helps me to grow my own business.
I feel privileged to be able to apply 20 years of self-motivated practice and perseverance to something I absolutely love.
I get to earn a living from something I actually care about.
Ryan Cowan - Photographer