Sunday, January 05, 2014

Life With Bryan - Bryan AC Ried 1982-2013

The first weekend of 2014 and I am spending it with my friend Bryan whom I love for the last time.  Bryan is dead and I am going to his funeral.  I don’t mean to be blunt but that what this whole experience has been like… blunt force trauma on my emotions. A blow I or anyone else didn’t see coming.   Short on the details that got us to this moment yet in a sad way I am not completely surprised.

I met Bryan at a Michelle Ross performance in 2010… He was a short human lightning bolt of energy, jumping and dancing on the stage with his shirt off, his defined chest showing off his signature Bear Claw tats… he was a whirling durbish and a sight to behold.  Shortly after meeting him we caught up on the street in passing and I asked him if he’d be interested in photographs and while he said yes it was several weeks before it actually happened.   In fact I thought it was off but one night he called me at 3:30 am and claimed this was it! It was a warm June night and I didn’t have to work the next day so I was kewl… it was spontaneous and I have always liked the outcome of spontaneous shoots.  Bryan was spontaneous, it was that energy thing again.   He came up and we shot till 5:00 am…. I was a bit tired but Bryan was wired.

Here are a few images from that early AM shoot...

As I got to know him I learned many things about him, he was very open with his life, his loves and joys and the low moments and burdens as well.  With that unguarded honesty and trust I knew quickly that we would be life long friends.   Over the course of 4 years we shot five times, each very different.  Creativity was a co-operative moment with Bryan… He walked in always knowing what he wanted to do and we would talk through it and make it a reality.

For me the most enjoyable was our second shoot in October of 2010, A combination of underwater stills and video which for the most part Bryan had orchestrated in his mind when he walked in the door.   For some of you the images will not be a surprise as he put many of them on his face book and other places… The video which we made together including editing and even the choice of soundtrack will debut soon.

The next shoot came in May of 2011 and really showed his enthusiasm for life, to me Bryan was almost always a very happy person who was trying to live his life to the fullest… regardless of the obstacles.

Our last shoot was June 13th 2012… Bryan was one of the many individuals who was there for me when I had my open heart surgery in March of that year….  He would make time to stop by and spend time and help out around the house.  When we met that morning he walked in agitated and not his usual self.  After a few moments I turned around to find him sitting on the studio floor head in hands and tears flowing. It was a whoa moment…  When I asked him what was wrong he confided that something had him down though he wouldn’t be specific.

We sat quietly for a moment and he mentioned that he wished sometimes he had made better choices in life.   I assured him that he was not alone in that thought… and that I too had shed many a tear over my choices.   He finally cracked open a bit more that he was about to turn 30 and that he was not satisfied that he had done enough with his life.   I immediately went into my pish posh speech to crush his pity party… Im 52 and even I haven accomplished what I want to do but then again most of it happened in the last 20 years and those are the best years yet for you…  Anyways its not about the quantity of life but the quality…. while you were here did you live in the moment and to the fullest?

After a pause I asked him if he wanted to reschedule…  at which point he looked at me with full indignation and said hell no I want these photos for my birthday!  He got up off the floor and became…. well Bryan again.

People sometimes ask me what is it about photography that attracts me to it.  I always answer that aside from the obvious creativity that it allows me to get to know other people in sometimes deep meaningful ways and by means of sharing I learn more about people and myself. I also feel an imperative  to document people…. In this youth oriented lifestyle we are in it is important to have images when we were young and vital to look back upon… to allow the memories to flow over better times and be able to take stock in a life well lived.  Ultimately a photograph is a form of immortality 1/ 60th of a second long…

My sadness this week is again overcoming me as Bryan won’t have the chance to have those moments anymore, but at least through these images in some small way he will be immortal…  

Note: All images and text (not specified) is copyrighted by Christopher Cushman. This site does not specify or denote the sexual orientation of any model and as such please post your comments accordingly.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those are really beautiful