Sometimes you have so many questions it is almost impossible to answer them. So what do you do? You meditate, wait, closely listen and then BAM! You finally answer once and for all. I have had a great chat with Luis Alberto Rodriguez – obviously I was the one asking questions.
Thirty-five years old, raised in New York with a Dominican background, Luis resonates a personality typical of a well-travelled youth from overseas and he looks at the world from a very cool perspective. He has been living in Europe for a few years: “In the last years, I have travelled a lot and I have had the chance to explore this continent from different perspectives” he confesses in a cheerful voice.
His photography is something dynamic, captivating, full of tension and passion. Visually impressive images of beautifully contorted bodies and faces. We shouldn’t be surprised to see him in a couple years among the best emerging photographers and stylists.
GRIOT: Tell me a little about yourself, what you do, your photographer job, your passions, where you live?
Luis Alberto Rodriguez: I have been a professional dancer for almost 15 years dancing in various dance companies as well as a freelancer. Through this experience I’ve had the opportunity to travel a lot and meet incredible people. Using the camera was a way for me to document these places but most importantly these encounters. I’m fortunate enough to be surrounded by friends who are also involved in aesthetics of various disciplines, whom I greatly trust and who have encouraged me to continue photographing my surroundings and friends.
I currently reside in Berlin and it’s been about a year and a half since I started to take photography more seriously.
You began with portrait. Are your subjects friends or models?
It’s a mix. Mostly friends and acquaintances but often people I meet on the street as well. I like an individual who strikes me, a face that puzzles me or haunts me.
How do you choose the people you involve?
Many times looking through magazines and photo books I find a lack of representation. Pages and pages of a lot of white people. This becomes the norm and the standard by everything is measured against. These stories however do not represent me nor many of those around me.
I don’t necessarily think you should diversify for the sake of being politically correct – if it’s not coming from a genuine place. But my experience has been one of a lot of colors and feel the need to be honest with that.
Do you shoot digitally or analogically?
Actually both. It depends on the subject.
I follow several, but Richard Avedon and Vivian Sassen are my favorites.
From your photos you can tell you’re really into fashion. Which designers are in your Olympus, you know, your favorites?
Margiela, Yohji, Comme [des Garçon] and Issey [Miyake] are those I like the most. But, as a good New Yorker, I am way more comfortable with a pair of Timberland boots. I would wear them from Monday to Sunday.
Being a dancer, music is a very present element in your life. Do you have any genres or artists you prefer?
I listen to a bit of everything: hip hop, R’n’B, salsa, classical. Ultimately, thanks to a friend I have discovered the coupè-decalè and generally African music. Don’t ask me any names because my memory is bad, but the rhythm is killer.
How is living in Berlin?
Berlin is fantastic. I’ve lived in about 8 different countries. Most recently in Sweden where I spent a long time. But Berlin is home and it simply makes me very happy to come back to.
Instagram | Bluntfrunttoo
All the images | Courtesy of © Luis Alberto Rodriguez
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Growing up in Rome and not being influenced by art it’s quite impossible; so I eventually studied all those things my mum believed to be wrong for me: Fine Arts at the Accademia di Belle Arti di Roma and Fashion at Accademia di Moda e Costume, mixing my passion for sneakers, cinema, photography, music and mango-flavored ice cream.