Meet Ryan, a photographer and security guard living and working in Ottawa. Ryan is a military buff and a big fan of Airsoft paintball – he works part time at Combat 307 in Gatineau, which is where we meant  to do photos. 

I moved here from Cold Lake, Alberta about twelve years ago. I went through high school here in Ottawa. I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do until grade 11, when I borrowed my brother’s little Samsung camera. Luckily we had a multimedia program at our school, so I got a pretty good start and knowledge of photography through that. I love photography. I’ve never really been able to stick to anything because I have ADHD, but there was something about photography that just worked.

I took a semester in Photography at Algonquin, but it was just so expensive. I lost my job about halfway through, and I couldn’t continue. Right now I’m just about to get my security licence, so I’ll be working security for a local company once I’m done that. Also, you know, I’m taking photos when I can and hoping someone buys some.  

I’m not professionally a photographer – I only do it as a side thing. I’d really like to be a professional, but I haven’t gotten many job offers. I worked for a club down town for a while. It’s the off-season right now, but I also work for an Airsoft paintball field in Gatineau called Combat 307. He lets me play whenever I want, and I take pictures of all of the players. I only charge the players like a buck a photo, and I take maybe 70 a game. So I could walk away from a day there with $70. I love doing that.

I grew up in a military family, and I’m a proud military brat. I’m a huge military fanatic. That’s how I got into Airsoft. Airsoft is like paintball, only there’s more military simulation, and it’s more in-depth. You have to do things like find a downed pilot, locate lost documents, follow rules of engagement, stuff like that – just one game lasts a whole day. Video games also got me into military stuff – I played Call of Duty and stuff, and I really like the guns and everything. This is the second year I’ve done Airsoft, and I feel like I’m a big part of it now. There are only twenty or thirty active members, and I’ve gone to almost every game in the last two years. It really gets me into a military mind-set. If it wasn’t for my weight, I would have joined the military. Unfortunately it just wasn’t possible. I’m still trying to find a way to join the military despite my weight, but Airsoft is my fallback plan.

We did your photos at the Place d’Orleans transpo station – why is that an important place for you?

The OC Transpo bus station at Place d’Orleans is the first place I got drunk. I had no intention of drinking that night – I got off work at the mall, and a couple of my friends were there. I ended up getting smashed at the bus station. It was my first time drinking, so I didn’t know about rules like don’t drink milk or eat yogurt. It was a real learning experience!

Thanks, Ryan! Ryan’s own photography can be seen on his Flickr page and on Combat 307’s Flickr page.