ryan lucas henderson photojournalist pelican

Ryan Lucas Henderson

Expeditionary Photojournalist

Ryan Lucas Henderson is a photojournalist, writer, and archaeologist, fascinated by the subjects of identity, culture, and society. He began his career in photojournalism working in the Philippines and Ukraine, where he developed a passion for telling the stories of individuals as well as the larger narratives in which they take part. History is not the story of the dead. It is a living and breathing, multifaceted arc unfolding in and around each of us. It’s his passion to be as close to the action as he can be, telling the stories which contribute to the larger picture, the larger whole.

In 2019 Ryan accepted a position as a photographer in the 173rd Airborne Brigade, having the opportunity to work alongside the U.S. Army and their mission to NATO allies in Europe. Subsequently, he matriculated as a doctoral student in the Department of History and Archaeology at the University of Athens in Greece. He is researching the material and political relationship between regional identity and the state in the Eastern Mediterranean during the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age. Through academic research and photojournalistic rigor, he hopes to expand the knowledge of who we were, who we are, and who we are becoming.


What motivates you in the morning?

Coffee and literature.

What is your mantra for when things are tough?

Even rock stars have bad days.

If you could do anything else, what would it be and why?

If I was neither a photojournalist nor an archaeologist, I believe I would have gone into the field of marine biology, as I have always loved the sea and the diversity of the creatures within it.

How did you get into your profession?

My earliest memories are of my desire to excavate dinosaur bones out of the Earth. Soon, I realized how much more interesting it was to study humanity and our relationship with the environment. Playing with my mother’s film camera, I realized that photography was one of the tools through which we can study that very subject and learn how to best proceed into the future. Once this became clear to me, the rest was “history.”

What is the best piece of advice you've ever received?

Get out of your comfort zone and relentlessly photograph the world around you.

What are your top three Pelican products?

One of the mid-size cases from the air series. The lightweight aspect to these cases is a huge plus for me, as I travel often and value lightweight and economic bags and cases for my gear. The extendable handle makes the case super easy to get through an airport with.
A backpack duffle bag. I have always wanted one of these duffle backpacks from Pelican. Having the ability to pack a bag like a duffle, yet carry the bag like a backpack, sounds incredibly convenient to me. Strapping a large bag to my back allows me the opportunity to roll another, heavier case behind me and eases the burden of carrying duffel bags in each hand.
One of the storm or protector cases. Protecting my hard drives is of the utmost importance to me. When I leave my home, the thought of a flood, earthquake, or other natural disaster is always in the back of my mind. Although I back up most of my images in the cloud, there are still files on my many hard drives that I’d hate to see gone. Those drives along with some of my more cherished film cameras gives me a big reason to want a case with a level of protection that the Storm or Protector series offers.