Ryan Walker

Cousin, We Have Grown Up
Location: Toronto, ON Canada
Nationality: Canadian
Biography: Ryan Walker is a Toronto-based photographer, specializing in documentary, editorial photography, and visual advocacy. Having graduated in 2013, Walker holds an MFA in Documentary Media from Ryerson University. He is also an educator for the BFA... read on
Public Story
Cousin, We Have Grown Up
Credits: ryan walker
Date of Work: 05/01/10 - Ongoing
Updated: 12/04/19

Cousin, We Have Grown Up provides an intimate exploration of nature, identity, and spirituality. The project focuses on Jon, a young man seeking an authentic connection with the land as he attempts to discover his true, raw self.

Having lived in a tepee for three years, Jon adapted to a sustainable lifestyle as he directly participated in procuring his food, clothing and shelter - all the while developing an intimate connection with nature. During this time Jon began to reshape his identity to be harmonious with naturalistic spiritual beliefs. Though he assumed an untraditional lifestyle, Jon remained linked to the outside world through his job as a massage therapist.

Initially intended as an examination of “back-to-the-land” sustainability and environmental stewardship, this project evolved as Jon’s life took an unexpected turn. Recently, he made the difficult decision to leave his tepee and start a new life in a house with his partner, Jess. Despite this, Jon intends to continue his physical, spiritual, and emotional relationship with the land as he seeks to maintain an existence encompassing two conflicting ways of life.

Cousin, We Have Grown Up depicts the complexities and contradictions of a man coming to terms with larger questions that involve self-identity, rejection of modern society, and the difficulties in re-establishing an authentic connection with nature.

The project combines photographs and candid journal entries, and is constructed with an awareness of the challenges in presenting imagery that some may construe as being appropriative of Aboriginal culture. Cousin, We Have Grown Up produces a layered portrait: an intimate adventure-misadventure story of a young man trying to live freely.