Today we’d like to introduce you to Abel Rodriguez.
Abel, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
My story begins during my senior year of high school. I was getting ready to do a senior project and decided to do it on the art of photography. I needed a camera to show a body of my own work; and after begging my parents for a year, I received my very first camera on Christmas. My parents didn’t have the luxury or the means to buy me the newest or brand-named camera and gear. I made it work and learned that “its not what you have, it’s how you use it.” Inspired by my project, I began taking photos of my friends at school. It’s so hilarious to talk about now because I would pretend they were on Americas Next Top Model and I was the photographer, Nigel Barker, shooting them on their main challenge. We would constantly have our own photoshoots and laugh at the process of it all.
After high school, I began working with local artists creating concepts for album covers and flyers. It would later take a major halt in 2012 when I was diagnosed with stage 3 testicular cancer. I had to go through surgery with the result of never being able to have children of my own. I got really depressed and a month or two later I received chemotherapy to remove anything that may have spread throughout my body. After a week of chemotherapy was told I had a 50/50 chance of survival due to complications. I was scared, depressed, and often angry because of all of this. But through prayer, family support, and my doctor, it was a God-given miracle that I overcame and survived cancer. After a couple of years, I was able to pick up photography again and do it professionally. Being given a second chance has truly made an impact on how I view life today. With a new outlook of my surroundings, it has truly inspired and motivated me to continue on my professional journey as a photographer.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I’m a photographer that shoots portraiture, editorial, and beauty aiming at creating a space where everyone can feel the best versions of themselves. No matter what type of work I do, I don’t create for the intent of being viral or the likes. I work to show that no matter what backdrops you have or what camera you have, you can turn that around and create amazing photos. A lot of the photoshoots I’ve done have been created in the space of my own bedroom, backyard, or neighborhood. These are basic tools that every photographer, both seasoned or not, can utilize and take advantage of. Any viewer can see that throughout my work.
What do you know now that you wished you had learned earlier?
One thing I learned throughout my journey is that “it’s not what you have, it’s how you use it!”. With that being said, you don’t need the most expensive light set up, or expensive lens for you to create. Never be afraid to go for any shoot and have fun doing it!
One of the things I wished I learned earlier on in photography is that not every shoot needs to be paid and it’s okay to allow yourself to have new experiences whether they’re good or bad! Learn from every shoot and grow! That’s how you can become so much better over time!
What do you think about conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
Everyone has their own version of success. For me, I don’t base it upon how many photoshoots I’ve done, how many times I’ve been to the studio, which celebrity I’ve shot, or how many likes I get on a photo. That doesn’t define success to me. To me, it’s more about going through the process of creating and learning from every project that I do. Some projects can be super easy where the creative juices flow freely, whereas, others can be difficult with a creative slump or a conflict of interest. Regardless, these are learning opportunities that allow me to grow as an artist and a photographer. Being able to find the beauty in someone and captivating that through my lens defines success to me.
Conditions for artists today have become easier than 20 years ago where people had to physically network and talk to people to expose their work. Social media has been a great platform for artists to showcase their work and personality. This allows potential clients to engage in a photographer’s body of work with more accessibility with just a click of a button. I think for a city like Los Angeles where there are many creatives, affordable classes and meet-ups to link with fellow photographers, like myself, can help bridge a gap and create an environment to collaborate and build relationships.
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
You can find my photos on Instagram. There you can find links to my work.
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/abelr/
Cheesa Laureta, Kenn Miel, Jordan Maiava, Tilomai Hill, Lashedbyjen