This Festival Photographer Strives To Capture People As They Truly Are

Ryan Farber

If you were at the Dirtybird Campout West this year and you were one of thousands in the audience for the Family Set, you saw Ryan Farber (AKA Ryan Forever) hit the stage and turn the party. When he dropped his track “Nasty” that was it; everyone lost their ish. The next week, Dirtybird signed the track and put him on the lineup for Dirty Bird Campout East, this February.

But, Farber isn’t new to the music scene. In his mid-twenties, this talented dude is a popular Philly photographer — known best for his work with musicians, festivals and on the club scene. But, he was involved in music before he ever even picked up a camera, so it’s no wonder he can take control of the tables and an audience and get people on their feet. A multi-talented renaissance man, a love for the visual arts and music runs through everything Farber does — intersecting in a variety of creative ways.

Sometimes you’ll find him taking intimate photos of artists backstage, and other times you’ll catch him directing and editing videos for a musical act. His creativity is endless.

We were lucky enough to catch Farber this week, between bouts of inspiration to talk about his dual careers in music and photography. He explained his beef with the term EDM and dropped some knowledge for people looking to get into the music festival game. Scan through what he had to say and check out these hot pics. We’re sure that you will hear more from the man in the future.

Ryan Farber

Did you begin your photography career working shows?

Yeah, just taking photos at concerts, just of the people in the crowd. And, eventually, that led to my hanging out with more artists and taking photos of behind the scenes, backstage stuff. And, then, I started getting involved one on one with artists and climbing my way up the ladder.

Okay, so you’re not just taking shots from the crowd, you’re creating a relationship with the subjects.

Always. I think it’s really important, especially with my photography, to develop a relationship to tell a story. I like telling a story of one person or a group of people. You have to hang out with those people for a while before you even start taking photos. You have to become friends with them first and get a glimpse of their world as it really is.

Why use such an intimate approach? What’s appealing about that?

My approach is to get the raw, real story as people are naturally in their lives and not some façade that people might put on if they’re dealing with unknown photographers. I know a lot of the artists that I work with may be shy in front of certain cameras if they don’t know the people. Or if they’re getting interviewed, or something, they might not be completely honest, and truthful, and transparent.