Ryan Spencer Reed (b. 1979) is an American photographer who began documenting critical social issues in 2002, in east Africa focusing on the Sudanese Diaspora. In late 2004, he began to find an audience for this work in universities, museums, and galleries. The Soros Foundation awarded him with a grant in 2006 to reach additional audiences. While exhibiting and speaking internationally on the subject of Sudan, Reed photographed extensively on the hubris of empire amidst the twilight of the American industrial revolution with special focus on Detroit; work which is also touring in exhibition form. Currently, he is completing a long-term project on the modern incarnation of the Band of Brothers in which he followed the military unit through over a year of training and their deployment to Afghanistan. This body of work will focus on these soldiers' experiences through modern surveillance and tactics as they have shaped policy and changed the way the world's superpower went to war. The immersive photographic and audio installation is now open at the Grand Rapids Art Museum until October 12th. The project spans two and a half years of documentation of one Army battalion - the Band of Brothers. In the aggregate, 61 images convey, myth, reality, and glimpse into the scope the idea of enduring freedom. The layout represents a maze inviting the viewer to lose sight of the exits in order to fully commit to the consideration of a reality not their own - lured into a choke point - where getting out becomes difficult and the time spent within uncomfortable. Sounds of war, captured audio by the artist, bombard at a low-grade whisper where specific signals are nearly indistinguishable amidst the fog of war. The experience of the installation, within the institution of an art museum, echoes the fiction through which most Americans consume war: clean, safe, and sterile. As a reflection of the installation, a four-volume set of ‘zines’ (newsprint magazines), presented as artifacts of the project, will function as an interactive - printed page - media component.
Ryan Spencer's ArtPrize Entries
These are Ryan Spencer's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.
Ryan Spencer's Past Work
These are images of past work that Ryan Spencer has done.