Our forty seventh interview in this new series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photography and artist, Marco P Prado from Philadelphia, United States. Prado’s interview sings, with the wonderful ability to feed the heart while filling the mind. Enjoy!
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, Lisa Mitchell, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Whalberg, Andrea Bigiarni, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios, Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis and myself, go here.
All images ©Marco P Prado
What was your earliest childhood ambition?
My first ambition was to be a priest. I think it was just to get back at my father because he was was a Buddhist and I didn’t understand how to be the odd duck. Growing up in Catholic country it seemed the only truth to follow. Thank goodness when I was 9 years old, I couldn’t have my first communion because I needed my parents’ consent. I understood that spirituality was something bigger than the divide between my family beliefs and the Catholic faith, so I was free to explore and experience what was ahead for me.
My first recognition wasn’t until I started editing on my iPad . Growing up I always was encouraged by my parents to explore my creative mind. Photography has always been a big part of my life observing my father’s work. I never had any formal training in photography or any technological background. All I know is based on trial and error. About 10 years ago I started participating in group shows . I’d love to have one on my own . Editing is my daily practice like meditation and yoga. I have won twice the digital category prize at MOBgraphia , the biggest mobile showcase in south America, twice exhibited at Mira Mobile prize in Porto, Portugal.
I was 18, my first job was an office boy, working for the coffee bureau association . I used to visit all the companies that were affiliated to collect their monthly dues. I certainly walked a lot. University came 2 years later, so I had other jobs in between .
Private or State school
A bit of both. I was born and raised in Brazil, in the small town that we lived it was just public schools. Since my father’s family were related to the history of that town and the coffee that comes out of Brazil, my school was named after one of my relatives as were some of the streets in town. Some of my school mates thought I owned the school. At the age of 10 my father decided that it would be best for us to move to a bigger city , this way we would have more exposure to real life and education. Off we went to live by the coast . This was the best decision ever made by my parents. There I went to a small private school with all the neighborhood kids which made it so much easier for me .
University or work
Both. As I entered University, my father told me that I had to help to pay for part of it. In Brazil it’s common to attend school in the evening and work during the day. Certainly it wasn’t easy, but at that age anything is possible. In my second year, I moved to Sao Paulo, the biggest city in the country , where I got a job in a bank. I trained in Import and export in the bank’s foreign business department . Even though my training was in Industrial design, I didn’t have much of a choice of jobs. As the political and economic climate grew unstable, I decided to leave the country and pursue some of my dreams to learn English properly. I already spoke Italian and needed to perfect the English language . So I moved to London in the late 80’s where I received my Cambridge advanced certificate and continued to work as a free lancer for the International bank that I worked for in Brazil. That gave me the freedom to start to explore another career , Alternative Therapies . That led me to move to New York City in the mid 90’s, where I enrolled in a Japanese shiatsu school . I studied the language of the body and mind and developed my own form of therapy which brought me so much growth mentally and emotionally.
Who was or still is your mentor?
I had several people who were mentors in different parts of my life. Some made more impact that the others, but certainly a positive influence . My father was an amazing photographer , this was his hobby. He had a dark room where he developed his photos taken with a Rolleiflex. I was always fascinated with the process of the dark room, the red light and the overall ambiance. The clothing lines hanging large prints and the smell of chemicals seemed the perfect combination for that moment. My mom is an artist, she’s a handbag designer . Her bead work for fancy dresses also led her to teach in nearby towns. She was famous for her beaded party bags. She’s 98 and still loves sewing everyday. Her secret is to keep a creative mind and exercise . I guess I got the best of both worlds .
How physically fit are you?
I consider myself in good shape. I hate the idea of going to the gym, but I go. I’d rather go for long walks in the outdoors as much as possible. Water sports are mostly what I like, swimming is my ultimate favorite . Recently I relocated from the Arizona desert to a more cosmopolitan city , so I’m loving it.
Ambition or Talent. What matters more to success?
Both go together. Ambition is necessary to get you to the next level. To dream and to make that a reality is certainly the drive to understand why we are here. Talent we all have, it’s just a matter of listening and pursuing.
How politically committed are you?
I’m not as involved as I would like to. Some activism is important in such divisive times. We can’t stay quiet while so much wrong is happening. Somehow the world went backwards to be ultra conservative. It’s hard to relate to any of this nonsense , either in the USA or around the globe.
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
My dream was to own a Rolleiflex camera , just like the one my father had. About 5 years ago, a friend gave me all her photographic equipment before she died . Amongst the cameras was exactly the one I dreamed of . I’m so grateful for that
What is my biggest extravagance?
My biggest extravagance is to love technology and all that comes with it. I’m always looking into new electronics , especially phones. Currently using 2 iPads, one Pro and an iPhone X.
In what places are you happiest?
I’m always the happiest by the ocean with my better half and our 2 dogs.
What ambitions do you still have?
As we grow older, our ambitions change . At the moment I’d love to travel to Japan, Morocco , Jordan and India . I’d love to become an abstract painter , so I have been taking art classes and developing my own sense of abstract art.
What drives you on?
Life is so full of beautiful lessons. I’m driven by the idea of learning every day a bit more about myself and the ones around me. The force that comes from the gut , not from the mind.
What is the greatest achievement of my life so far?
One of my greatest achievements was to reinvent myself. I had the urge to leave my comfort zone and travel to different countries , to find myself in every corner of the world , to feel that I had valuable lessons in shaping my experiences. To be where we want to be requires lots of internal changes.
What do you find most irritating in other people?
Lack of common sense irritates me the most . As simple as that. Some people don’t know how to coexist in society .
If your twenty year old self could see you now, what would he think?
My 20 year old self would be very proud . I’d say, thank you for listening. Go , run , live your life the way it wasn’t planned for you.
What object that you lost do you wish you still had?
I don’t recall anything. I lost my wallet once, and that was traumatic .
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Stop preaching, start listening. The planet is going through some rough times due to man’s greed. We have a heck of a lot of of work to do in order to survive the challenges ahead. I think Presence , stepping up to the plate will be key components to all the above.
Do you believe in the afterlife?
This has always been one of my favorite topics. I think we signed up to this dance before we were born. I believe the after life is a place of less suffering and more light . I Don’t believe in the idea of heaven and hell, but a place more Buddha like. As a young boy, I have vivid memories of my parents talking about that . Luckily I’ve been exposed to so many experiences related to being out of the body and past life regression that have helped me understand that there’s something bigger after life. It doesn’t end here, at least I feel that way.
If you had to rate your life satisfaction so far, out of ten, what would it be?
I always score 10 . I’m happy with all that I was able to accomplish, not regretting what could’ve been done and always looking ahead. I guess life gave me a few lemons, I made the most delicious lemonade I could have made.
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