Photographer Ryan Pfluger says he uses photography “as a means for therapy and connection.” In this 12-minute talk he recently gave at TEDxPasadena, Pfluger shares an inspirational insight into how photography has played a major part in bettering his life.
Pfluger has photographed many celebrities, including Obama, Angelina Jolie, and other notable figures, but that’s not what he wanted to talk about on the TEDx stage. Instead, he shares how a camera has been his only trusty companion and savior from loneliness.
Having had a difficult childhood, Pfluger says that photography was “a way for me to meet people that were outside of the safe mental bubble I had created for myself.”
When he was younger, Pfluger did not have a good relationship with his father, and it was only through his camera that he was able to strengthen that relationship. Eventually, the two even went on a road trip together.
“I was using my camera as a therapist,” says Pfluger.
A decade later, Pfluger travels alone with his camera in the passenger seat and captures images of strangers he meets on the road. He calls this project The Day of the Lone Wolf and says he “wants everyone [he] meets to feel like their stories could be heard” — a privilege he did not have when he was younger.
Photography has a different meaning for everyone, and for some it is a trusted constant on a rocky road through life.