March 14, 2023

Ricardo Barros - "Create the Life You Want to Live: Art & Agency"

Ricardo Barros -

In our latest episode, we return to the world of art, specifically photography…although in our guest’s view, the medium is just a conduit for life experience.

Our guest is Ricardo Barros, a renowned photographer, artist, writer, filmmaker, curator, and lecturer.

Having experienced the power of art as a teenager – Ricardo’s knees shook upon first exposure to Paul Strand’s photographs – he identified his passion early on. The clarity of his purpose notwithstanding, his path forward remained a mystery. This led him to change course in search of fulfillment several times over. From a military school education to an Art History student in college, he switched majors to earn a graduate engineering degree. Sixteen years into the profession and with a wife and family to support, he left engineering to become a full-time professional photographer. Eight years later, he published his first book. Now his work is in the permanent collections of eleven museums, including the Smithsonian Museum of American Art.

Ricardo is a photographer who speaks from the platform of art, yet what he says has much broader implications. His truths apply to all of us. Addressing art as a discipline and metaphor, he advocates that we declare, “I am the audience for my artwork!” Only then are we truly free to create. He says, “Don’t be a salesman, peddling a product,” in marketing your services, “attract people to you. Be the interesting thing.” And “Forcing yourself to be different is a false goal. Find yourself, know yourself, and then you will be unique.”

Listen in and learn the difference between approaching a problem with an empty mind versus an open mind, and how Ricardo applies this in his art. Intriguing!

As Ricardo beautifully puts it,

“Photography can be so much more than exposure, content, and composition. A photographer who understands this joins the artist rank. Artists know that their medium is a neutral conduit for expression. The artwork, what they say with their media, is what matters. Whether visual, verbal, or other, artists with vision engage with ideas.”

We can only share this artist’s voice and ideas in this podcast. Ricardo’s work is also visual. So, treat yourself to his website. See his wonderful work and get inspired by even more of his ideas!