Cherry Blossom - a photobook about unrequited queer love

Cherry Blossom is a photo and art book exploring the story of unrequited queer love through the lens of photographer Ryker Allen.
In their first photo book, Cherry Blossom, nonbinary photographer Ryker Allen tells the story of a fleeting relationship between two young people documenting the first time they fell in love. Using words, scanned notes, postcards, and other mixed media alongside medium format film photography in an accordion-style art book, Cherry Blossom explores intimacy, emotional trauma, the fragility of masculinity, and the way friendship complicates everything. Ryker Allen tells an honest and vulnerable story through the memory of this achingly true story.
In Japanese culture, the cherry blossom symbolizes life’s fleeting beauty. The blooming period of a cherry blossom is hard to track, each flower a reminder that we are all on this planet only a short time and each bloom, although beautiful, is only temporary. It is cherry blossoms that also represent femininity, fragility, and virginal beauty — Cherries themselves a symbol of seduction and temptation in the context of innocence and newness. 

About the photos: 

“The photographs speak for themselves as the guiding force for the story. As a film photographer, it’s very important to me that these photographs were crafted with the patience and care of medium format. You as a viewer can trust that each image on the page as an honest moment of vulnerability captured permanently by my lens. All photographs were taken in Montreal telling the story of our day-to-day interactions. The photos are accompanied by some handwritten text elements along with appropriated artifacts.” -Ryker Allen

About the conversation:

We are honored to be joined by legendary American artist and Boston School photographer, Jack Pierson, who has interviewed Ryker for this publication. As a pioneer of the style of photography in which Ryker works and their biggest artistic influence, Jack Pierson leads a cross-generational conversation with Ryker about love and the lens.

About Ryker:

Ryker Allen (b. 1997) is a gender nonconforming photographer from San Antonio, currently based in New York City focusing on young queer masculinity and the boys they’ve dated.
They are the Photo Editor of Hello Mr., having won numerous awards in film and photography, and was named by Conde Nast as one of “one of the most exciting queers to follow in 2018.” Selections of their work have been shown alongside artists like Nan Goldin, Bruce Weber, Jack Pierson and more at Colette in Paris, photo shows like Unseen Amsterdam, and emerging photographer auctions with Dan Cooney Fine Art. Ryker’s work has been featured by publications like Interview Magazine, Document Journal, W magazine, OUT, Nylon Japan, VICE, i-D, A Part, Fucking Young, Hello Mr., and much more. They are currently studying at The School Of Visual Arts, working on a BFA in Photo & Video.

Risks and challenges

As a young artist, funding a photography publication is a difficult practice, which is why Ryker launched this Kickstarter project to supplement the expenses of a photo book for little-to-no profit. The community surrounding their work is the driving force of what they create, so it is with deep gratitude that Ryker thanks you supporting young queer art.

Team Credits

Ryker Allen

  • Photographer & Photo Editor, HelloMr


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Ryker Allen
Photographer & Photo Editor, HelloMr