There are so many reasons I love this photograph. I think it's mostly because it's simply Ryan the way he is meant to be seen. I know him from work, but in this picture Starbucks is completely removed. His work shirt is gone revealing some of his tattoos. He loves the outdoors and at the Little Econ River his is completely in his element.
His dog, Sammy Davis Jr. Jr., is also a major component of the photograph. Up until recently I would say that Ryan wasn't an overly affectionate person. He is someone who usually keeps to himself and doesn't like to get involved. But once he got his dog it was like another part of himself was able to come to light. All the love in him that usually stays under the surface finally had a way to be expressed. Loving that dog was a way for him to become a more complete person.
I also love these photographs because it was on the fourth of July that became fully aware of Ryan's skills as a musician. He brought his guitar and played a few songs. He also talked about how he has been playing drums ever since he was a child.
Ryan and I have often joked that we never thought we'd end up as good friends as we eventually became. I always knew he was a nice guy to work with but over the past few months I feel like I'm finally getting to know the real Ryan. Turns out, the real Ryan is a pretty colorful guy.