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Virginia native Ryder came to Oakland, CA, by way of Norfolk, Atlanta,  New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco. He was born into a family of activist artists and university professors. After becoming one of the first Black graduates of the elite Westminster Schools in Atlanta, he pioneered and completed a new degree of his own design in Visual Arts at Princeton, becoming one of its first photography graduates.


Beginning in the mid-1970s, he co-founded a student-run theater at Princeton, exhibited as a member of the City Without Walls artists' collective in Newark, then later he developed and ran the jurying system used for making grants directly to visual artists by the National Endowment for the Arts, the NY State Council on the Arts, and the NY Foundation for the Arts. In the SF/East Bay Area he joined boards for the Julia Morgan Arts Center and the Center for Critical Architecture.


Ryder had first  photographed extensively in the performing arts and sports, while also doing work for designers, documentarians, and marketers. He left this conventional professional activity however, to do tech and strategy consulting, augmented by advisory or board positions with arts organizations, for over 25 years. In 2016 he resumed steady practice as a photographer.


When not photographing, he works with other artists primarily in a curatorial or editorial mode, or in collaborative projects fusing camerawork with other vehicles ranging from digital magazines, books, or galleries, to multimedia performances.

His current audience and co-creators include historians, journalists, other visual artists and curators, and the communities of the landscapes seen in his photographs.  

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National Endowment for the Arts

Visual Artists Fellowships Grants


New York State Council on the Arts

(multiple grant programs)


New York Foundation for the  the Arts Visual Artists Fellowships Grants


Center for Critical Architecture

1993 San Francisco Embarcadero Waterfront International Design Competition 



Princeton University Visual Arts Program - 1976 Graduate Group Exhibition 2021


Princeton University Visual Arts Program - Faculty Group Exhibition 2022


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