Say hello to Rodrigo :
Where are you from?
I am from San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Where have you been?
I’ve had the opportunity to visit many countries around the world since I was a little kid, and it has definitely impacted the way I photograph and see the world.
What’s your favorite place in the world?
It is hard to say. All of the places I’ve been to are stunning. I find something special in each place. Kenya’s sunsets, sounds, and animals are amazing. Chile’s land and culture are very special. London’s fast pace and architecture are fascinating. Paris’ deep culture and incredible illumination, and Puerto Rico’s beaches and people.
How would you describe your visual style?
I would describe my visual style as my interpretation of the “day-to-day” life. I like to expose what’s usually ignored: people’s expressions, mannerisms and movements. A “decisive moment” – the one that’s always fleeting. Combining it with old school composition and new photography trends.
How do you find your inspiration?
I find inspiration from everyone, really. I follow a lot of accounts on Instagram that inspire me with the color correction and editing. I also look at the classic street photographers like Henri Cartier-Bresson, Vivian Maier, Diane Arbus, Mark Cohen and many more.
Do you get photographer’s block? If so, how do you overcome that?
Yes, I’ve gotten photographer’s block. Whenever I feel like I am experiencing a block, I tend to look for inspiration by going back to the street. I unwind for a little to get ideas flowing. Then I try to get out of my comfort zone and explore places I’ve never been with my camera. I feel that moments like a photographer’s block can be used to benefit your creative process, and in the meantime, learn about yourself.
Tell us about your career. How did you get into it?
I did not start photography with the ambition of it becoming a career. It was a process I developed growing up, and understanding that this is a passion I’ve had for a long time. I seriously got into it in my freshmen year in college when I took my first traditional photography class. When I stepped into the darkroom and developed my first roll, I knew this was for me. Since then, I’ve always tried to have a camera with me. I am a Junior in college now, and I’ve had my photos published in magazines, exhibitions and used for advertising and marketing purposes. I honestly thought that those things would never happen.
What types of photography do you do?
I have worked with models for fashion and bathing suit photoshoots, food photography, fine art, landscape and photojournalism. Although, my favorite would be street photography. It’s my favorite because I love to people watch, understand different cultures, and it gives me a certain liberty that I only find while being in the streets.
What has been your biggest setback as a photographer?
I feel that my biggest setback as a photographer is that I am still a college student, and I can’t dedicate full time to practice or to become a pro. I am also on a college budget and I can’t afford high quality equipment that I feel would bring my photography to a whole new level.
Of the photos you’ve taken, which three are your favorite?
Haha … that’s like asking a mother who their favorite child is, but if I had to choose, it would be these three:
Photography is competitive. How do you stand out?
There are a lot of very talented photographers out there, and I feel like I can always improve by looking and learning from the competition. I like to think that we are a community that likes to help each other out with techniques and inspiration. I feel that I stand out by being genuine in my photography, by capturing what commands my attention, and by showing how I see the world through my camera.
What’s the best advice you can think of for someone just starting in photography?
Probably, the best advice that I can give is to never stop learning and challenging yourself. It’s frustrating at first to see other people’s work and compare yourself to others, but it’s all a matter of practice and patience. Like Henri Cartier-Bresson said: “The first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
How do you express yourself through your photography?
I express myself by capturing what I like and how I see it. I feel the camera helps me understand people and society better. Photography has helped me become more observant, and it has helped me communicate my ideas, views and feelings.
Do you have any projects you’d like to show off?
I don’t have any specific projects, but I have been trying long exposure photography at night. I’ve done it before but never really got into it since it’s not my favorite. I feel like I have to challenge myself, so I always like to try new things out.
What is your most life-changing event?
I would say living in London for eight weeks by myself for work. I met a lot of new friends, opened myself to a different culture and a different way of living.
What will you be doing five years from now?
Hopefully, I’ll have a good job doing what I love.
What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
I don’t know if it’s crazy, but I had dinner next to a river full of hippos while they were coming out to eat in the dead night of Kenya. Or maybe, a hot air balloon ride in the Maasai Mara, Kenya.
What’s something you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t?
I still need to do a lot of things in my life, but the one that I want to do the most is to take a gap year and travel the world with a friend.
For anyone who wants to get in touch with Rodrigo, here’s some contact information:
Rodrigo, thanks for sharing your work and story with us! 🙂
If any artists out there want to collaborate with FStop, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Also, remember to download the FStop app for iPhone here!