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Rising Stars: Meet Ryan Orengo Sostre

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ryan Orengo Sostre.

Ryan, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My journey within the visual arts started in high school. I was about 14-15 years old when my father gifted me my first camera. I believe it was in the summer of 2012 that I started exploring photography and video. I already had an appreciation for tv/film and media, but it wasn’t until I was more profound behind the lens that I grew a strong passion for documenting and telling stories.

I worked on a few music videos and had plenty of photoshoots while in school, still adapting and figuring out my style. Around late 2016 or early 2017, I focused on documenting my surroundings and community. Which later led me to pursue photojournalism, where I discovered that making that work really spoke to who I was and the importance of documentation. Fast forward to the summer of 2018, I took a huge leap of faith and moved from Apopka, FL, where I was living to Baltimore. A drastic but necessary change.

As a Latino artist originally from Hato Rey, Puerto Rico, I’ve found it important to focus my lens on the family before me and shed light on those underrepresented and underserved communities of color. Much of my work now is rooted in documentary practice with a huge focus on representations of family, identity, and self-awareness. Cataloging everyday life has grown to be a strong passion for me. I am grateful to be where I am today, but the journey is far from over.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I currently freelance and have been doing so for several months, and it’s been a complicated process, nothing set in stone beside the drive I have to continue pushing further. It hasn’t always been a smooth road; a lot of trial and error. One of the struggles was trying to figure out what I wanted to say as an artist with my work, and even now, I find myself constantly evolving and creating on different levels. Your art should always speak for itself, but sometimes it can be challenging to find the balance between what you want to say and how your work may be perceived. Although at the end of the day, your expression comes from the heart, which is what matters. Which I believe has allowed me to stay present with myself and my work despite the struggles.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a photographer, filmmaker, and visual artist specializing in documentary/street work and visual narratives rooted in everyday nuances of life. My work has representations of family, identity, emotion, and self-awareness.

I’m proud of almost anything I do because I understand that I don’t always have to release work. But my accomplishments thus far are something I’ll forever be grateful for.

I am me always, and I come to the table as myself fully. So my honesty, authenticity, stillness, and vision to tell stories set me apart from others. I also capture the moments in between, often overlooked, that gives a pure and raw look at life.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc.?
Favorite books include Our America, Sidewalk, The Alchemist, and When a Heart Turns Rock Solid, to name a few. A few photo books that draw much of my inspiration include Spanish Harlem & Juvenile by Joseph Rodriguez, The Americans by Robert Frank, The Flavio Story by Gordon Parks, and Street Portraits by Dawoud Bey.

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