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ryan allen portrait photo
ryan allen portrait photo

Ryan Allen

Born 1992, 19th March (Belfast, Northern Ireland)

Ryan’s inspiration derives from the human condition and the environments in which they affect our cognitive behaviour, typically starting with his own. His intention is to create images that portray suggestive and metaphorical qualities, containing messages or conveying something visceral to evoke a response from the viewer. He tends to look at himself and his own experiences as he approach new projects – this can feel daunting and lonely. As majority of the work is personal, it allows him to challenge the convincing sense of loneliness as audiences recognise aspects of themselves in the images. The camera is used as a tool to explore systematic and intuitive methods while allowing it to guide and manifest his visual language. Much of his photographic aesthetic was implemented through his interest in cinema, exploring colour and light to further enhance the atmospheric attributes.

Ryan has finished his Bachelors of Arts at Ulster University, achieving a first class honours in Photography with Video in July 2022, and has recently graduated from one year of international studies at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design situated in Budapest. He was awarded a place on the Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences executive Dean’s List for his academic year of 2018-2019. Ryan became one of five recipients of the inaugural RADAR Research and Development Artist Residency for PhotoIreland. He will join this years 2023 Futures Platform as one of five Irish Artists, culminating in an annual networking event at the Robert Capa Contemporary Photography Centre.

Awards and honours

  • 2022, Recipient of Research and Development Artist Residency (RADAR) supported by PhotoIreland – Dublin, Ireland 1
  • 2020, Santander’s Student Enterprise Support Grant
  • 2018-2019, Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences executive Dean’s List, Belfast, Northern Ireland


Solo exhibitions

Group exhibitions

  • 2022, 12 May – 09 July, A Bigger Picture, Dr Clare Gallagher, The Golden Thread Gallery, 12 May to 09 July 2 34 5 6
  • 2022, 6th June – 18th June A Moment for Holding, Ryan Allen, Ulster University Graduate Show 78
  • 2022, 7th July – 28th August, Images Are All We Have, Ángel Luis González Fernández, PhotoIreland Festival 9 10 1112 13
  • 2022, 22 July – 29th July, The Big Queer Art Show, UsFolk, 2 Royal Avenue, Belfast 14 15


  • FathoM, 2022
    ‘FathoM’ is a visual diary, exploring my fear of transience in response to witnessing the body’s vulnerability. The slow deterioration caused by my mother’s illness produced an acute awareness in me of how fragile we are: it’s like I’m waiting for the past to repeat itself. I began thinking about the strain of the demands on family carers. My father had to be both parents to my brother and me, with an unquantifiable impact on our experience of growing up into men. 16 17 18


  • Who, 2021
    This project investigates and questions our self-awareness. Ones perception of themselves may be different from reality. Our perceptions of others can hold more truth than the individuals themselves. What does this say about us? I became fascinated with this concept through personal experiences. Realising my sensitivity towards certain aspects of life. Exploring the factors that changed my behaviour, and why my reactions became erratic during certain circumstances.


  • Boy, 2020
    Boy explores how society and environments influence our behaviour, leading us to question our place in the world. Where does a secretly gay boy belong in society?


External links & References