For Savanna Ruedy, photography is a powerful art form and tool that can allow both those behind and in front of the lens to express emotions, concepts, and meaning in a singular portrait.
In typical style, Ruedy seamlessly infuses personalized and popular culture references with both real and imagined detailing that further complements her subject’s backdrop. She often turns toward color and composition to assist aesthetically, making her portraits distinct in their own right. The creative has worked with the likes of Brooke Candy, Emma Norton, Amanda Steele, and several more in addition to brands like Google, Savage x Fenty, Milk Makeup, and Glow Recipe.
Despite the internet era outwardly changing the landscape for photographers and creatives in regard to navigating the industry and socials, Savanna proves herself to be the content queen. “I’ve been into social media since Myspace so it’s not much of a challenge for me to post because it feels natural,” she tells us. Churning out a number of equally impressive photos several times throughout the week, her signature style of shooting is cemented and modified frequently as she traverses across many of Gen Z’s most notable faces. “I am a very social person so I do genuinely enjoy communicating on the internet.”
This year alone, Savanna photographed Tinashe for the cover of Polyester, Cosmopolitan‘s 2022 Music List including names like Latto, Audrey Nuna, and Tai Verdes, as well as BAYLI for Spotify’s EQUAL campaign, which was featured in Times Square. There are several more accolades under her belt that position her to be one of this generation’s exciting photographers to watch.
Below, we chat with Savanna Ruedy about her extensive work with creatives like BAYLI, how New York and Los Angeles impact her craft, and attention to detail to name a few topics. Continue scrolling to read our conversation.
To begin with, could you introduce yourself and how your love for photography began? In what ways, if any, did your initial intentions evolve over time as you’ve continued to work with more people and gain a following?
Hey! My name is Savanna Ruedy and am a photographer based in LA and NYC. That’s a good question! I feel like my intentions are constantly evolving with my work. My journey is a lot about inclusivity and it’s so important for me to make people feel beautiful and love themselves because I truly think everyone on this earth is fucking gorgeous. I also love working with artists and people who make a positive impact on the world. Overall, I feel like I’m constantly searching and exploring my craft and it evolves every day.
You’re based in Brooklyn, but frequent Los Angeles often—do those two settings inform your work at all?
I think New York has a certain grit to it you can’t escape. The city truly chews you up and spits you out every day. I think that definitely reflects in my work. While I’m In LA life is so dreamy and moves in this magical pace. Again, I think that’s reflected! I love meeting new people and exploring new subjects. While I’m in LA I feel like there is so much talent and cool people I haven’t worked with and that’s exciting for me.
In terms of finding your current style, how would you describe your aesthetic and what you aim to convey in your photos? When looking at your work prior to the pandemic, you can notice how much more comfortable you’ve gotten with color and stepping outside of the norm.
Thank you! I am definitely always evolving. I learn something every single time I pick up my camera. I feel like the pandemic was truly an eye-opening experience for humanity as a whole. Slowing down and taking time to deal with a lot of internal issues has helped me be much more at ease and happier. I feel like that might be reflected in my work as far as color and expression. Overall I’m just always looking to evolve and right now I’m into finding new ways to edit and make things look more and more how I see it in my imagination if that makes sense.
Recently, you photographed BAYLI for Dazed and subsequently for Spotify’s EQUAL campaign, which was featured on a billboard in Times Square. I’m curious to know what do moments like that mean to you?
That moment made me cry, to be honest. I had no idea it was going to go up like that! Sometimes I get caught up in my day-to-day and don’t notice major accomplishments happening before my eyes. Those moments make me slow down for a second and remember how far I’ve come and to keep working towards new goals.
Aside from your own work and other photographers, are there any other forms of creative expression that you pull inspiration from like music, literature, or film?
I am a fiend for new music. I am constantly looking for new things to listen to. MUSIC all day long .. it literally guides my day. Lately, I’ve been into Joji, Dijon, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and Turnstile. It really changes daily. Music as an aesthetic truly.
One of my favorite series of photos, especially from this year, are the photos that you took of Latto, Audrey Nuna, and Flo Milli among several other artists for Cosmopolitan. What was your time working with them like?
They are all so amazing and so nice. I am a huge fan of a lot of the artists and it’s always such an honor to work with talent that I am inspired by.
With that being said, in following you over the past year, it’s evident that your work ethic is unmatched. How do you approach navigating the current social media era and ultimately, what compels you to pick up the camera?
The social media era we are in now is hard to navigate and I am constantly forced to change my communication on the internet. I’ve been into social media since Myspace so it’s not much of a challenge for me to post because it feels natural. I am a very social person so I do genuinely enjoy communicating on the internet. Picking up my camera is just something I NEED to do to feel complete. Photography is my passion and I couldn’t see my life without it.
Beyond the vivid attention to detail with the colors and tonality that appear in your imagery, is there any other facet of photography that you feel plays a seminal role in its creation?
Getting to know the people I photograph and seeing them for who they are. It’s such a vulnerable experience for people and I don’t take that lightly. It’s important to connect with people wherever they are at. I love feeling connected to people.
Having accumulated a phenomenal portfolio with several accolades under your belt, what do you look forward to next in these coming months?
Thank you! I look forward to working with people in LA and being creative. I am letting the universe take me wherever I need to go for now.