When I took my first photojournalism class, a guy by the name of Ryan Soderlin was shooting his first rolls of film right along with me. Both starting on the path to becoming reporters, we instead fell in love with photojournalism together.
That semester we took some really lousy photos together. But with a common thread of loving photography and laughter, we became pretty good friends from the get-go.
The following summer I got stranded when I missed my ride in Minnesota, about 7 hours away from Lincoln. I talked to Ryan on the phone, and he was ready to hop into his late 70’s, 5 mile-to-the-gallon, beast of a red Ford truck and pick me up.
That was before we really became good friends.
Back then I was right in the midst of my “misspent youth” and decided that hitchhiking was a fun and exciting alternative. So I told Ryan to just stay posted. He ended up picking me up in Council Bluffs, Iowa, late that night.
Today Ryan is not only a great photographer, as you can tell from the photos in the last journal entry, but he is really the best guy on earth. Lots of people say they would take a bullet for their friends. Ryan is the type of guy that hops into a car and drive across the country so that he could take a bullet for his friends.
With a goofy giggle always behind his demeanor, Ryan sets at ease even the crankiest subjects while on assignment. He is a popular guy anywhere he goes. Ryan needs to use his fingers to count all the times he’s been a groom’s best man during wedding ceremonies. He is well loved by all and certainly by me.
That’s why I’m sending this shot out to Ryan Soderlin.
Ryan and I used to drink beer and eat tapioca pudding into the wee hours of the morning, trying to figure out how the hell to use a flash.
“Bounce it this way.” “Bounce it that way.” “Try it in ATTL.” “Try it in ‘M’ mode.” “I don’t get it.”
We really sucked back then. But we are starting to get a little better.