Man of Many Soft-Spoken Words: Ryan Lusteg


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I’ve always noticed when someone is described as “a man of few words.” As for Ryan Lusteg, this is not the case.

Even on Ryans brokest days, he’ll seem to always have his two cents to share. Whether the topic be about your dead cat or what happen with you and your girlfriend after the bar one night, Ryans soft spoken manner will keep the conversation interesting and very unpredictable. Don’t get me wrong though, the dude hardly says anything stupid and by his general interest and genuine personality,  you’ll be convinced the chat with him will be worth the while. He’s one of my favorite humans to grace this planet and I was stoked to give him an interview below. He totally deserves it.

State your full name.

Ryan Paul Lusteg

Where are you originally from?

Encinitas, California.

How long have you been taking photographs?

I’d say about 15 years now. I began during my latter years of high school and was strictly shooting with a disposable camera to document my friends skateboarding in addition to all of the life we encountered while being out and about in the streets. I never thought about it much more than that until a couple of years later when I enrolled at a local community college and needed to fulfill some elective requirements. From there on out, I was hooked.

What photographers stand out to you skate related and in general?

Without a doubt, Brian Gaberman holds it down for one of the most unique skate photographers out there. His style and process is unparalleled and I can’t think of anyone else out there like him. He’s a true original and shoots plenty of stuff aside from skateboarding that is just incredible. Outside of the skateboarding world, I’m influenced by a number of photographers, which is always changing, but since you’re asking me who stand out to me the most currently, I’m going to have to go with: Hedi Slimane + Reed & Rader + JUCO + Amanda Charchian.

When was your first photo published and do you remember who was in it?

My first photo in a magazine was of Peter Watkins frontside boardsliding a rail at night that appeared in the “Sightings” section of Transworld Skateboarding back in 2004. Fast forward several years later and it was brought to my attention that Paul Machnau had a Thrasher cover 4 years prior to the one I shot doing the same trick at the same spot, shot from the same angle.

Not that many people know how good you are at skateboarding, want to share any thing about your More for Less part?

Hahaha, well I certainly was better in those days. I still skate from time to time, but nothing like I did during that period of my life.

Was it ever frustrating shooting skateboarding at the time where sequences were shot using film?

Absolutely, especially when you take into consideration how much money I was spending every week on film, It was ridiculous! What made it even worse was when you would go out to shoot and not come back with anything. I might as well have been throwing my money down the garbage.

Do you have a favorite photo you can name off the top of your head that you’ve taken?

The very first one that comes to mind is the portrait I shot of my buddy Levi Maestro with the shadow on the wall behind him that reads “happy.” Everything about that photo just seems right. The light, his posture, the look in his eyes and the fact that he is a genuinely happy person and it read on the wall, it’s pretty incredible if you ask me.

What’s next for Ryan Lusteg?

I plan on growing my collection of portraits for my FP-3000B project (while there is still film available) and besides that, I just want to continue to create and grow as a photographer.

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Alex Schmidt – Kickflip – San Diego, CA

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Chris Troy – Stretch – San Diego, CA

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Courtney Love – The Troubadour – Los Angeles, CA

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(In order from left to right) Emily Ratajkowski + Jordan Taylor + Sean Conover + Alex Schmidt

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Io Echo – Space 1520 – Los Angeles, CA

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Kelly Walsh & Tera White – San Diego, CA

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Levi Maestro – Panguitch, Utah

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