Originally posted on Facebook on August 3, 2009:
I have known Ryan Prado for quite some time now. I met him back in 2004 or so through a mutual friend. I have met a lot of talented and creative individuals through various events and social circles throughout the years, but Ryan happens to be one of the most insanely talented photographers and all-around creative geniuses that I have ever met. He belongs to the old school of Tampa icons. Everyone knew or was familiar with his body of work. Everyone loved his photography. Today, it seems that EVVVERRRYYYONNNEEE is a photographer and that Ryan’s genuine creative brilliance gets a bit lost in everyone else’s relentless self-promotion of their artistic self-perception. Damn you sometimes Facebook!
Tonight, he and I went to dinner where we discussed his upcoming move to NYC this fall. Ryan follows in the same footsteps that so many wonderful friends and associates of mine have walked before him. “I want to do this while I am still young and still can… I want to creatively and socially challenge myself… I want to experience something new…” And each every single one of my wonderful friends that relocated to NYC also happened to be a very talented individual as well. (Yes Hilary, the ability to make me uncontrollably laugh until my stomach hurts and I am crying is an exceptional talent that should be classified in its own category of fine art.) It seemed that all of Tampa’s shining artistic talent was abandoning ship and upgrading to a New York yacht.
One comment that Ryan remarked over tonight’s dinner resonated with me and has been saturating with me ever since: “Not to sound cliche, but I feel like I belong in NYC.”
Why does this statement stand out the most? Because I can relate to it the most. I love New York City. I don’t ever see myself living or ever moving there. I don’t feel like I belong there. I considered moving to Chicago at one point in life. I even considered trying to figure out a way to live in Toronto. All that has changed the last 2 to 3 years. Not to sound un-cliche, but I feel like I belong in Tampa.
I’m still in the beginning stages of what I really want to accomplish here in Tampa. There are a lot of seeds planted or being planted right now, that if I ever did decide to move and join the other side then all of this hard work and endless amount of time that I’ve devoted to this city would be erased. I tip my hat to all of my friends that moved to NYC. In all honesty, I feel that most of their times here in Tampa had expired and I’m instantly happy when I see how much they are now enjoying life up there. There was just a somber and settled attitude during their last months that they lived here. Tampa is too great of a city to live like that, so it’s always better to go before you completely self-destruct. It’s as if they are now living life to the fullest… again. Sure, the grass is always greener. But what happens when there is absolutely no grass on your side anymore?
Besides the introspective rants that tonight’s dinner provoked, it also inspired a possible creative collaboration with Mr. Prado. I waxed poetic about my inspiration for the November 13 Square One event to him which he is contemplating shooting an original photo for… something that he has not done since Virgin 2.0 all the way back in 2008.
Virgin 2.0 by Ryan Prado
Is it odd that the photographers that I solely rely on will all be living in NYC and that my main go-to-guy for graphics lives in Ohio? I get to have the best of both worlds: still benefit from my talented friends who hijacked it up to New York AND merging it with what I am doing here in Tampa while never having to leave.
Life is like a boomerang.