Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Street photographer Ryan LaRose beautifies downtown Cape Girardeau one TikTok at a time

Monday, April 25, 2022
Street Photographer Ryan LaRose capturing an interaction with two Cape Giradeau men at the River Front for his TikTok page.
Photo by Kate Haussman

Ryan LaRose is a street photographer and TikTok content creator in the Downtown Cape Girardeau area. He began posting TikToks in November 2021 to share his art.

LaRose features the citizens of Cape Girardeau in his photos and TikTok videos. He walks around downtown Cape Girardeau looking for the “average person” to photograph and asks them meaningful questions. LaRose uses his iPhone, strapped to his chest, to capture each interaction.

“A lot of everyday people don’t want to see photos of celebrities or politicians,” LaRose said. “They wanna see the everyday person that has highs and lows, struggles and triumphs.”

LaRose has become quite successful on TikTok, with a total of 16.8K followers, an audience that is growing every day. His fans love and support his content: The comment sections on each video are filled with positive responses.

One TikTok commenter on LaRose’s video showing his photography said, “This brought tears to my eyes. Please continue to do this.”

LaRose continues to make and post videos on TikTok because of the joy it gives his followers. He plans to keep posting once or twice a day to keep his fans coming back for more.

LaRose did not always focus his photography on the citizens of Cape Girardeau. He first began his passion for taking photos of downtown Cape Girardeau itself.

“For about the first year, I shot photos of the river, bridge, barges, boats, historic buildings, etc. I took all these photos multiple times from different angles, in different seasons and different weather conditions,” LaRose said. “It’s crazy how the same photo looks so different on a foggy day versus a sunny day.”

He has loved photography since he was a kid but did not pursue it until the COVID-19 lockdown in the Spring of 2020.

“So, I used the only camera I had, my iPhone. After several months of shooting photos, editing them and learning more about the ins and outs of photography, I decided I wanted to buy my first camera and give it a go,” LaRose said.

LaRose did not attend a university for photography; he learned everything he knows from Youtube and masterclasses available online. He believes universities are not able to teach the natural ability of a great photographer.

Being self-taught allowed LaRose to have more time for his family and his main career, being a security guard at SoutheastHEALTH. After 15 years of working at the hospital, LaRose is trying to make photography his main career instead of just his “side gig.”

LaRose gets paid to do photoshoots; his customers consist mainly of senior, family and engagement sessions. He has not yet worked with SEMO graduates, but he expressed he would like to start, as long as they were a good fit.

Shooting on the SEMO campus is also something LaRose plans to do in the future.

LaRose’s end goal for photography is to one day bring national recognition to his photography. He also wishes to release a photo book filled with his work. His Tiktok fans are already begging for him to make one.

Check out Ryan LaRose’s TikTok here.