tampa

Tampa Friends, Tokyo Tomadachi, Republished Book from 1991

Saturday, October 27th, 2012

Christopher Ruff, 1991, Tampa, Florida from the Book Tampa Friends, Tokyo Tomodachi

This the last of my archiving projects for a little while.  It all started with the finding of my color analog prints that I made after hurricane Andrew and published on the 20th anniversary of that terrible storm.  It led me to redux my Broken Windows book.  Now I decided to take a new look at the project that I completed before Broken Window, and was only published as an artist’s proof.  I have decided to call it Tampa Friends, Tokyo Tomodachi (tomodachi means friends).

These images were all taken in 1991 with a Nikon FG mostly with a heavy flash.  I was photographing what was around me, my friends.  I spent so much time with all of them that I wanted to capture those moments.  It was my way or participating in life as both an observer and participant.

The book is split into two halves.  The first half is filled with my Tampa family of Jahn, Christopher, and Elizabeth.  We spent all of our free time together exploring life and the land around Tampa.  The second half of the book comes from two different trips to Tokyo and the time I spent with Tetsuya, Yoshinori, and Masami.  The two halves show a version of my life as it was in 1991.  A time when my friends were my family.

By 1991, I rediscovered my love of photography after having a passion ignited in my soul from cinema.  I wanted to go one step further and enrolled in a photography class.  A whole new world opened up before me.  I learned about photographers I never knew before.  I was eager to discuss the deeper meanings of photography, and that passion that was reignited by my teacher Beth Shields never has diminished.

I wanted to look at these old photographs of mine to see where I have been as an artist.  I wanted to know if the images that I were producing in my youth were still valid to my critical eye 20 years later.  The answer, for the most part, is yes.  It has been a process of learning and self discovery with my camera as my means of expression.

The PDF file can be downloaded here for free. Tampa Friends Tokyo Tomodachi PDF

the book can also be purchased online via Blurb.

 

Lastly I want to give a extra special shout out of love to all those whose images are contained within the book Tampa Friends, Tokyo Tomodachi.  All of you made my time as a young man some of the most interesting and heartfelt years of my life.

Ybor City, Change, or Not Change?

Tuesday, May 4th, 2010

Tampa was the city of my college years.  It is where I met friends that became family, and some that still are family today.  Others, have faded into the memories of those days.

I was fortunate to travel up to Tampa with my best mate Jerry, his father Cliff and Cliff’s wife Doris from Miami.  We were on a mission to go to Bern’s Steakhouse.  But for me it was a chance to see the some streets and fragments of memories from those South Florida days.

We had a bit of time before our reservation, so we headed down to Ybor City to see if there would be anything that I would remember.  We used to head to Ybor to  hit one of the only live venues where once upon a time I saw the Lemonheads.

Walking up and down the main street, I thought I had stepped off in another world more akin with South Beach than anything I’d remembered from Tampa.  The street was now lined with venues, clubs and cigar shacks.  The cigars  I do remember, but these were new, clean, and with lots of neon signs.

Like most places, when I was in school, the early 90’s were not the best of times.  Stores were shuttered across south Florida after the excessive building of the 80’s.  Now those times have come again.  There also were dusty closed store fronts in this new hip neighborhood.  That was the Tampa I remember.  Dusty store fronts with a FOR RENT sign duct taped to the window.  I did catch a glimpse of that down on Seventh Avenue.  The gray cinder blocks with the bright blue sky overhead.

I really want to thank Cliff and Doris for spiriting us away to Tampa.

La Uetramar Jewelers, Ybor City Tampa

Deks Tag, Ybor City Tampa

Brian and the Manequin, Ybor City Tampa

The New Ybor, Ybor City Tampa

Release Fear, Ybor City Tampa

Floating Good Times, Ybor City Tampa

Circular For Rent, Ybor City Tampa

Welcome Sale, Ybor City Tampa

Reversed Frame, Ybor City Tampa

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