The 20-year-old photographer discusses growing up in Texas, falling for one of his models, and supporting emerging queer zines.
The photograph Ryker Allen considers a turning point is of a boy he invited over to his studio. He's wearing mustard yellow shorts and is bathed in a brilliant gold light. "When he showed up I was basically enchanted by his presence and so attracted to him," the now-20-year-old photographer remembers. "I was captivated. I ended up dating that boy after I shot him, but I have no recollection of how I took any of those photographs because I was so focused on him. From then on I had to photograph boys that I was really attracted to or who acted as surrogates for previous boyfriends." Ryker intends his ongoing exploration of queer masculinity, the series "Boys," to age as he does. Ryker now lives in New York, working as a photographer and an associate producer for Hello Mr. magazine, which he is now helping expand into an incubator for smaller queer zines. He recently went back to his childhood home of San Antonio to reconnect with the high school life he left behind. While Texas isn't exactly the best place for queer people to live right now, the sense of isolation he felt as a 14-year-old was something he needed to remember. "In New York, everyone's gay." Plus the sunlight in Texas is really incredible.