Whether He’s shooting for TIME amidst the intense heat inside an Indiana steel mill or documenting a day in the life of a young rapper, Ryan Lowry‘s intuition helps him find pictures. “I like being in the world and observing and reacting to how I personally feel in a situation,“ he says, “and then figuring out how to make that into an interesting photo.” After graduating from Columbia College, Lowry landed an assignment for the Chicago Reader through a friend. His portrait of a punk musician led to a Reader cover assignment to photograph a group of Chicago rappers. Other rap music work followed, most consistently from The FADER. Lowry has a section of his website devoted to his rap photographs, because he believes it shows “my ability to be thrown into a situation and make something out of it.” To drum up assignments, Lowry emails clients, often with an edit of photographs he thinks will appeal to their interests. He says working in Chicago’s less-saturated market has benefitted his nascent career, and he also isn’t shy about telling clients he has a car and is happy to drive for assignments. But more and more, people call him because they feel he’s right for a job, not because of his location. Lowry feels that “getting more assignments that fit me better personally” is the next step in his career.