Ryan contacted me a couple of months ago to tell me that he is moving from Cleveland to San Francisco in June, but also that he wanted to work with me once before he left the Midwest. And so he drove to the studio on Saturday. Both Ryan and I underestimated the time it would take him to get here from Cleveland (six hours, not four) and so he arrived later than expected and we only had two hours to work together before Jay and I were due at another couple’s house for dinner.
But Ryan and I hit it off amazingly; he might be the most mature 22 year old I’ve met. He said something about possibly staying in Indy for the night and asking if I could resume the shoot in the morning. And so impetuously, I told him that he could stay with us (note that I’m selective about who spends the night at our house, and I’ve literally never done this before for a model that I didn’t previously know).
And so as Jay and I went downtown to our dinner engagement, we dropped Ryan off at 45 Degrees so he could get a drink and some dinner. I felt bad for abandoning him but would have also felt awkward bringing him along to someone else’s house who wasn’t expecting extra guests, so I told my friend David the bartender to look out for Ryan and then pointed him towards a few other places on Mass Ave that he might like. Then I turned around and noticed several friends at various tables in 45, and two of them invited Ryan to join them. They bought his dinner and took him to an art show and kept him company for a couple hours, until Jay and I could get back to him and take him clubbing for the night. (Greg’s and Talbott Street, where the divine, 7-foot-tall Asia LaBouche did her thing and did her best to make Ryan’s face turn as red as his hair — I’m surprised she didn’t throw him over her shoulder and walk off.)
The next day, we went to breakfast and were in the studio for most of the afternoon. We finished shooting about 4:30 and by that time, Ryan was referring to Jay and I, collectively, as “Dads.” I looked at him and said, “I don’t think I want you to leave.” He smiled and said, “I know, I feel like I live here now.”
Ryan is first generation American (his parents are Swiss), French is his first language, and he’s smart and charming and well-spoken. He goes to school (pre-med) but is going to take a break for a semester when he gets to San Francisco. He works out every day and he eats well. He carries a can opener and cans of tuna and tobasco sauce in his backpack; he mixes the tuna and tobasco together for a quick meal — which is disgusting, but forgivable in a “he’s just a cute boy” way. He also carries around a huge jar of whey protein that he drinks all the time (but again, he looks adorable doing so, and not like some dumb meathead). And he has the most amazing deep voice. And he’s a good guy in other ways; he does the circuit party scene but he has morals at the same time. In a way, he kind of reminded me of myself when I was 22 — except I didn’t have the red hair and the great body and the self-confidence.
And so after two days, I have about 600 photos of him to go through. I hope I captured how awesome he is.
When he got home, he sent us the following email:
Just wanted to let you know that I got home safe & sound.
This weekend was soo great… I really appreciate you taking me in and introducing me to your friends and all… And I think the shoot(s) went great!!
Hope I get to see you guys very soon … I’ll def. try to stop and make a trip.
I like you both individually and as a couple.
Keep in touch,
You can expect to see a lot more of Ryan on here and my website, as I get through the photos.
Here is the final portrait — a snapshot, really — that I captured of Ryan, just after we finished our all-weekend shoot and were sitting in the studio, talking. I miss him.