We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Purcell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I was asked by a friend to shoot his wedding and I was not exactly excited by the idea. He said that I was the most responsible person he knew that could get the job done. What do you do with a response like that? After I shot his wedding, I posted the photos online. A friend saw them and asked if I would shoot their wedding. The same thing happened again and after shooting a third friend’s wedding my wife says, “I think we should start shooting weddings”. So to answer your question, it was nothing we really set out to do. When the opportunity presented itself, we just ran with it. As someone that helps people develop their brands I can’t stress enough that you should listen to your audience and jump on opportunities when they arise.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have never been someone that was content with one medium. The phrase, “Jack of all trades, master of none” may be true, but it is because of this I have a broad scope that I believe gives me an outlook on art different than others. I get distracted easily to work on other things, but that gives me a chance to try new concepts, figure out what doesn’t work, then circle back around and apply them to areas that do work. I love problem solving and mixing the business side of things with art. It is a tough balance and will probably never evenly weigh out in the end. I got to where I am today because I went for it. I went for everything. If it interested me, I tried it. I tried a lot and I failed a lot. I never tried so hard to where I invested my life savings or anything because I knew it might fail, and that was ok, but I did put all my effort and time into it. It has never been easy and my family is always confused of what it is exactly I do, but I can’t imagine another way. I have been freelance for twelve years now and plan to keep up with it. It takes a lot more time and effort than a forty hour a week job, but the freedom outweighs everything. My main focus these days is my wedding brand, Gemini and the Bear, with my wife. It is an expression of who we are. We hope to expand on it more next year and it also gives me time to work with other companies and brands.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Atlanta is an amazing city. The food, people, scenery, entertainment, and the fact that it is not far to get away from it all and dive into some nature. I like to start things off with a day on the belt line. Starting off at Carol St Cafe and working your way down drinking, eating, and walking through the city with stops at places like Bookhouse Pub, Krog Street Market, and Woody’s to end up in Piedmont park for a sunset is a great way to get a feel for the city. Atlanta’s nightlife is a big part of who I am, so places like MJQ Concourse, 97 Estoria, The Basement, Church and The Local and great. A day doing the touristy things for first timers is still fun for me. The aquarium, Coca-Cola museum, MLK, and Human Rights Museum are all unique to ATL and won’t be found elsewhere. For me, you got to get in some hiking and camping to places like, Tallulah Gorge, Stone Mountain, Arabia Mountain, Red Top Mountain, and Amicalola Falls. All that and good eats makes a good trip to ATL.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My success has fully been from the support of my peers. My first taste of working as a creative was shooting nightlife with a friend Crystal Lauderdale and her partner Dylan Eiland. They gave me the opportunity to create something for myself, but my friend Christophe Laurenceau helped shape what my career and identity was going to look like for the many years to come. I started to shoot weddings because my friends trusted me to document this incredibly important day for them and be with someone they were comfortable with. Through all of this I gained experience and created long last friendships that has given me an opportunity to work with internationally recognized brands through people like Ben “Bean” Worley from my early days and Chris “Cwill” Williams, whom I still work with on several big projects today. I am thankful for Atlanta and the people that call it home.