We had the good fortune of connecting with Ryan Parra and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ryan, what is the most important factor behind your success?
My curiosity for life and passion to explore have to be the most important factors behind my success as an artist. My curiosity keeps my mind busy and my body in motion all day while constantly absorbing inspiration. My passion to explore takes my camera and myself to all parts of the world, helping me capture a sense of wonder in my photographs that feeds my viewers.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I photograph edible, medicinal, and psychoactive plants because I feel these plants tell us many secrets about who we are as individuals and a society. They remind us how our ancestors valued the natural world and their own lives. They act as mirrors for reflecting truths on a fundamental level. In today’s world, we are constantly racing around too fast for our own selves to keep up, but we will always have plants standing there silently observing us.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When I have people visit Arizona I like to first take them out for a hike in the Superstition Mountains as I feel this area exemplifies the essence of the Sonoran Desert. After a short walkabout, we next head to the Goldfield Ghost Town to get a glimpse of life 100 years ago in the old Southwest. To finalize the tour I’ll take them over the mountains to Canyon Lake where they can watch the sunset over the surface of the water.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I dedicate my success as an artist and a professor to all of the wonderful professors I had at University of Oregon and Arizona State University. They not only introduced me to a world of art that I immediately fell in love with, but they also delivered this information in such a poetic and crucial manner that changed my perspective of the world. I also have to give a million thanks to my parents for raising me to become the person I am.