Ryan Wilkes is a photographer, documentary cinematographer and director, and holds a PhD in Bioengineering. Through documenting adventurous pursuits, new discoveries, and conservation-related endeavors, Ryan enjoys exploring the relationship between people and the natural world in his work. His passion for photography was born when he moved to New Zealand to pursue his PhD. Inspired by the beautiful scenery around him, he and his camera became regulars in the backcountry of the South Island. Ryan uses his art to evoke curiosity in his audience so that they too may be inspired to create change.
Awards, Publications & Exhibitions
Awards & Residencies
Canadian Wildlife Photographer of the Year | Winner, Aquatic Life | "Scheming Snake" | 2022
Bird Photographer of the Year | Commended | "Mountain Parrot" | 2021
Vancouver International Mountain Film Festival | People's Choice Award | "Fly The Roof" | 2021
National Film Board of Canada | Filmmakers Assistance Program Award | 2021
Jackson Wild Media Lab | Filmmaker Residency | Jackson, WY | 2021
cSPACE King Edward Creative Incubator | Filmmaker Residency | Calgary, Canada | 2021
Netflix & Fabienne Colas Foundation | Being Black in Canada | Filmmaker Residency | Canada | 2021
Art Toronto | "In The Shadow" | 2020
Exposure Photography Festival | "In Conversation" | Calgary, Canada | 2022
Bird Photographer of the Year | "Mountain Parrot" | 2021
Nature Alberta Magazine, Winter Issue 2021 | "Birding the Badlands: Monitoring Raptors Along the Red Deer River Valley" | January 2021, p 24-29
East Africa is a collection of 15 1/1 wildlife photography artworks created during an adventure through Uganda, Tanzania, and Kenya.
This collection embodies the spirit of East Africa through the diversity and majesty of some of the regions most spectacular species of wildlife. Although I already had an interest in conservation before my African odyssey, this trip solidified the importance of the concept in my mind. Without conservation efforts, I may have never witnessed the true essence of the continent. I left Africa with a newfound purpose – to share stories about the natural world, the creatures that inhabit our planet, and the people who advocate for the protection of the earth’s ecosystems.
By becoming a collector, you are investing into conservation and natural history storytelling by supporting me in my photography and filmmaking journey.
A memorable encounter with a kea, the world's only alpine parrot, is a rite of passage in the New Zealand backcountry. During my four years in New Zealand and dozens of trips into the mountains, I learned that kea have an insatiable & contagious curiosity for the world around them.
As I set up my tent on a ridge overlooking New Zealand’s tallest mountain, Aoraki Mt Cook, a circus of four kea approached me. The exhaustion that I felt from hours of hiking seemed to instantly disappear. I grabbed my camera, as I knew from many previous encounters that they would likely move in closer to inspect my camping gear, maybe attempt to steal a shoelace, or something shiny.
I captured this photo of a juvenile just as it jumped and spread its wings to get a closer look at my setup, revealing gorgeous red plumage that is usually hidden under the wing. It is a once in a lifetime image that reflects the admirable spirit of the kea – curious, cunning, bold and beautiful.
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