Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Making Progress

I would guess that you have experienced this situation before: You are with a group of people when you reveal something about yourself to the group. There is always that one individual that says, "Hey, my Uncle Bob is really into that, too. I should introduce you to him/show you his website/give you his email address. You would get along swell!" Most of the time, meeting Uncle Bob does not go so swell. It might be the subtle smell of cat urine seeping from his pores or the fact that he is more interested in you than what your interest is. Regardless, the original idea of introducing a couple strangers who supposedly share some common ground tends to have great intentions with catastrophic results (at least in my experience).

An "Uncle Bob" moment happened to me after my blog proclamation that (a) I was going to blog much more frequently in 2010 and (b) that blogging was one of my many creative outlets in my life. In this particular case, being introduced to "Uncle Bob" actually turned out to be far from a disaster.A friend of mine who I work with was unaware of this non-engineering side of me. He gets to pleasure of seeing me during my most impressive nerd phases. After reading the blog and learning that I was interested in photography, he told me I should check out his friends' website because I would really enjoy it. Now this guy hails from South Dakota so automatically my bullshit sensor was going off like crazy. I had zero interest in looking at pictures of Midwestern country life. Cows are great. . .for eating. They aren't exactly the best photography subjects. Despite my anti-Dakota leanings, I relented and gave his buddies a chance. Thank god I did.

Proud Ruin is a collaboration of two artists creating incredible visual scenes. Tayn Reis dreams up a scene and ensures everything is in place. Aaron Stryzewski sets the lighting and frames that perfect shot. Beware, some of their creations are not for the faint of heart. Their images are dark, violent, foreboding, and often gruesome. But they are also absolutely incredible. (My favorites are definitely "Paramove" and "Forget the Hatchet") The lighting throughout their work makes the photos blend the realism of a photograph with the fantastical nature of a painting. I have stared at several of their scenes trying to figure out how they created the colors and texture of the photograph. The scenes are dark, but incredibly vibrant. At first glance, they do not appear to have much color at all. After settling your eyes on the photo, you start to see the brightness of the colors against the darkness.

As a disclaimer, I have not met Aaron and Tayn personally. Everything I know about them is what I have gathered through either their website or my buddy at work. However, the beauty of any medium of art is that through their creations, we can get a glimpse into the creative minds of others. Even if those minds are completely twisted and insane.

Excellent work, Proud Ruin. I hope you continue to churn out vivid and dark expressions of the endless human struggle.

On a side note, make sure you check out the section called "Aaron's Extras". Again, very impressive work, this time using a more standard portrait style. This one and this one are particularly great.

As the title of the blog says, I am making progress by opening my world to these new and exciting (and completely obscure) photographers/artists and being able to discuss them on this blog. You all know that I take pictures. They are not great pictures. A lot of them are not even good pictures. But with every website I find, every photographer I talk to, and every picture I take, I hope that I am slowly progressing to a point where I can truly and honestly call myself a photographer.

Til the next post,

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I, being the egomaniac that I am, decided to search my name tonite. Perhaps it was boredom or perhaps I wanted to see what odds and ends would pop up. I'm glad that I did.

After reading your description of our little page you actually made me want to go back and look at the work. Which is odd since those images, at least the ones in the proud ruin section, came from oust my own gnarled and macabre mind.

Which brings me to the point of my comment. I must say thank you. For a fellow artistic person to feel the urge to write about what we have created, and to appreciate it, is the fuel that keeps my greased down gears turning. You made my nite, and likely my whole week. We have never met, and probably never will, but the kinship one feels when their work is "understood" is undeniable. So again, thank you very much. If you'd ever like to visit more about the photos or anything at all really, you can contact me at

oh name is Tayn Reis, and I'm the guy who created...and is the person in a good portion of the Proud Ruin photos you have gazed upon.

p.s. who's the buddy?