Raised and schooled in the municipality of Kuilsriver in the Western Cape, Ryan Hitchcock was born into a family of practical thinkers with creative hands. After completing a degree in philosophy at the University of Stellenbosch in the mid Nineties, he wandered with a tray in hand through the restaurants, bars and kitchens of establishments in Cape Town, Pretoria and Johannesburg. In 2001 he arrived in Melville, Johannesburg, and has been a resident of the area ever since.
At the start of 2006 he undertook an epic journey on a scooter across 4000km through six provinces and understood the importance of documenting the trip. Two weeks before departure he bought his first camera, a second-hand 35mm Minolta, and had a former photographer of the Star show him how to operate a camera in manual mode. It was on day two of the journey, standing on the plains of the Great Karoo, releasing the shutter and feeling the drop of the mirror vibrate through the camera to deep into his soul, that he realized one more purpose to his life, to create images.
Though he quickly migrated to a digital camera, he has continued with the technique of creating the image “in the camera” and merely use post-production for the enhancement of the image. Initially he shot anything that moved or posed, but gradually developed a fascination for still lives and land/cityscapes. His cityscapes are often devoid of any humans, thereby inviting the viewer to become the sole inhabitant and moral authority of the scenes.
In more recent times his landscapes have taken on a dreamscape quality. For this purpose he attempts to undermine the defining qualities of modern digital photography, such as sharpness and clarity, by creating soft, dreamlike images using a pinhole-adapted digital camera. Nature is often central to these images, sometimes juxtaposed and other times in harmony with its human made environment.
In March 2008 Ryan held a joint exhibition with the design studio Strangelove at The Art Room in Melville and has participated in various group shows at the same venue since 2009. He has also participated in an international exhibition, l’Origin du Monde, in 2010. Twice has he entered the Fujifilm Professional Awards and twice has he been awarded. In 2012 he completed a body of 104 fine art photographs for the a five-star hotel, 54 on Bath, in Rosebank, Johannesburg. This has sparked his first solo exhibition at The Art Room’s new premises in Parkhurst; a selection of large format prints from the 54 on Bath Collection, the largest prints measuring 2,2m X 1,5m. He has since done further commissions for Tsogo Sun for projects in Cape Town and Durban.
His first short film, Joe, a psycho-thriller, was selected for the 8th Annual 2012 International HORRORFEST at the Labia Theatre in Cape Town and he has made a handful of music videos for musicians from Johannesburg and Soweto. He also documents artworks on behalf of various artists, including a performance piece by Kendal Geers at the 2014 Johannesburg Art Fair.