Doty: Horses, cameras fill his schedule

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Most days, C.M. Ryan Doty is more comfortable in a saddle than holding a camera, but that didn’t stop him from electing to participate in the Lower Alabama Arts Coalition “Portraits of Us” photo exhibit.

On display at Sugar Rush Bakery, the exhibit spotlights area photographers and their work – all photos of local citizens. Each display will be rotated on a two-week basis. Other photographers include Robert Evers and Zoe Birk. Dr. Angelo Agro ‘s work was the first to be displayed, and there are plans to display additional selections by others throughout the coming months.

Doty, an Indiana native who began horseback riding at age 10, was turned on to photography by his best friend in high school.

“Well, she’s more like my sister,” Doty said. “She was taking a photography class and what she was doing was pretty cool. So I said, ‘I can do that.’ I started with a disposable camera, moved up to a 35 mm and now on to my Canon Rebel.”

Photography, he said, is a time consuming-hobby.

“It’s one of those things that just gets you wrapped up,” he said. “You don’t realize how much time you can spend taking pictures. It’s so enjoyable. For me, it’s about capturing moments. It may not be that the particular photo really speaks to me, but when someone sees it and says that’s them exactly, I know I’ve done something.”

Doty said his favorite photo was taken during Covington County’s recent snowstorm.

Of his boss, Joseph Jernigan, Doty said it epitomizes his philosophy about photography.

“We’re at the barn, where I teach, and my horse, he had never seen snow before, he was freaking out, bucking all over the place,” he said. “Well, Joseph was just standing there watching. He wasn’t smiling or frowning. It was just a look of peace on his face. That’s what it’s all about for me.”

Doty said after high school, he had thoughts of becoming a fashion photographer, going so far as to enroll in the Savannah College of Art and Design.

“But the economy hit, and it’s a very expensive school, and it just wasn’t meant to be,” he said. “I have a family friend who knew Joseph, so when I mentioned I would really love to do something with horses, she pointed me in the direction of Andalusia. So here I am.”

He currently teaches English riding lessons to local children at Willow Creek Stables and wishes he had more time to devote to his photography hobby.

“But I love teaching little kids how to ride,” he said. “It’s my passion.”

And one can bet his camera won’t be far from his side, capturing their journeys in horsemanship.

Tuesday marked the first day of display for Doty’s photographs. They will remain up until April 21.