INTERVIEW WITH GEORGE RODRIGUEZ
By LAYLA RABIA
George Rodriguez, known on fashion industry as Grodpro
, is one of leading American fashion photographer, but he doesnt like to be photographed. Although it focuses more strongly to photograph beautiful women, it is also an extraordinary photographer of male models. In one case as in the other, he explores naturally both wild side too much as the sensitivity of the subject of his work. Human cats comfortably relaxed and absolutely free. Practically doesnt exist artifices in Rodriguez’ portraits.
What he likes, and too much, is talk about his own work, is that despite specialize in fashion photography, has expanded and enriched his field of work in a lot of new levels. It has transcended the merely commercial for manifest as any artist of sensuality and made something serious and disturbing about glamor. All this has led him to dabble in the renovated pin-up genre, the rogue-commercial portrait as in vogue among 40s to 70s, and how it has become today.
"With awakening of my sexuality –says George-, I was irresistibly attracted by the pin-up. From timeless Marilyn Monroe whose white skin contrasts with red satin sheets, originally published in Playboy magazine… through Vargas artwork, who by then were like burnt memories... it had to return, becoming a place between contemporary art.
The pin-up has proven to be timeless. It has gone from being center of heated debates by feminists, to an art that fascinates women, more than men. Gloria Steinem, one of the most recalcitrant leaders of the feminist movement, expressed her pleasure at the turn acquired this art. Perhaps like same reason, Rodriguez did not want to be too classic in his work and has achieved a very personal style by fusing the most classic of the art, with the boldest of contemporary erotic art: His models are not there to be admired. They shout "look at me!"
"I just want to give my version of a twist on the classic style, but with modern woman in mind. For me, classic pin-up is very compatible with timeless glamour, although I admit I'm not very fond of chance. I plan very well what I do, what I want to project: the final result.
"My definition of pin-up is any situation in which a classic pose that fills you reminiscences of other still images. So before you start working with a model, I present my idea of what I want to convey. I try to give instructions about light and how it will affect their poses, before developing the story. If by chance the resulting shot is in pinup style, I derive enjoyment.
But ... how were the beginnings of this successful fashion photographer-underground?
"I had an epiphany! They'd just say goodbye to a job, I was seriously considering returning to college, but I was already married, and did not even have a clear idea of what I wanted to go to College. When I told it to my wife, she yelled from the other room, "what about photography"? The moment I heard that word, I lit a light bulb in my head and shouted, "That's it going to be a commercial photographer, our lives will be paved with gold"! I do not know why the hell I said that, but I did.
But George Rodriguez took it more seriously than it says, and attended professional studies as commercial photographer.
"I love the industry. While in high school had a part time job in a district of art and models, so I started to get used to all this, I thought my destiny could be no other. I love women, mostly an aesthetic sense and a knowledge of business I wanted to follow fashion professionally. Also planned to go to Paris and start my career there, but I found a country girl and she would not go so far from home (he laughs, referring to his wife).
Rodriguez said that this is a work for a two. He’s not a dictatorial photographer. He likes that the model proposed. As we say in the literary argot: "writing for four hands".
"That's the main reason I prefer to work with experienced models, although, as elsewhere, one of leading surprises. I like to use all types of lighting techniques, light from the window, and the addition of strobe lights; full flat light, ring light, but mostly I like to work with hard light. I like to get as close to a finished work. I admit I am not very fan of photoshop, but sometimes helps achieve that dreamy effect with lighting, which contributes to an effect of smoother skin.
Regarding the equipment used, George Rodriguez is a great orchestra of a single director-musician:
"My camera is Nikon system. My dream lens for soft approach is a Rokinon 85mm ƒ1.4. My other soft focus lens is 80-200mm Nikkor ƒ2.8. My main lens is a 24-85mm Nikkor ƒ2.8. Camera bodies D300 and D700. My main studio flashes are Elinchrome.
And although it is extremely eloquent to share his secrets and tricks as a photographer, and his artistic ideals, is frugal to refer to the future, perhaps because, camera in hand, he can only think about the immediate future:
"My plans for future are to be happy shooting what I love. To keep my customers happy and help young people realize their dreams in the fashion industry.