Artist of the month: Jonathan Rodrigo documents people and places across the world
24-year-old Barcelona based photographer Jonathan Rodrigo has achieved more by his age than most people do in a lifetime.
Touring the world with his camera, he has shot campaigns for the likes of Reebok, LG USA MOBILE, Seat and more. His latest campaign was for Adidas Originals’ iconic ‘Adicolor campaign’ which went viral on the internet. His portfolio is both diverse and exciting, ranging from photographs of music gigs to skateboarding pros to commercial commissions and landscape images. No surprise that neubau eyewear hired him to shoot beautiful stills for their newest lookbook.
Here, Frame of Mind spoke to the young creative to unlock some of his success secrets. Read on to discover where Rodrigo gets his inspiration from and how he deals with social media fame in the internet age.
When did you first start taking photos?
I guess I started taking photos as a kid when I would borrow my friends’ cameras when we were skating or surfing. Since I couldn’t afford one I always tried to get the best shots. I was never conscious that I had been taking pictures as a kid until the moment I got my first iPhone. I was hyped on the power of creating something and being able to retouch it and share it within five minutes. That made me realize I was in need of a proper camera.
Your portfolio is really broad and diverse – do you prefer taking landscape or portrait photos and why?
I was travelling around for a bit couple years ago. At that time my main craft was landscape photography and getting the best perspectives and situations no matter what. Travelling gives you the chance to meet people from all around the world; meeting so many different people made me realise how powerful human stories can be, in a visual way too. During the last year, my goal and manifesto completely changed which is why I haven’t been sharing any personal work. Now, I approach how people act and feel in specific atmospheres and contexts.
You’ve worked with some big names (such as Nike and Mercedes), have you found it difficult to maintain creative freedom at any point?
Of course. That was what stopped me from keeping on moving for a while. But at one point I realised that if I wanted to make a proper living out of this job I had to participate in the commercial area even if certain clients would drain my soul and passion for art. I feel like you must be conscious you are adapting your art for someone else at all times. Once you know that, you need to know what is worth it and what is a waste of time.
A big lesson was realizing that well-performed marketing is actually ART. And as an artist, you need to respect it.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
I draw inspiration from everywhere and nowhere. There are some days when I find inspiration in atmospheres that I stare at on a daily basis when walking around certain areas. When I talk about “atmospheres” I’m referring to details which act in interesting or rare ways under certain lighting or compostion. Unrepeatable and unique situations.
If you ween’t a photographer, what would you be?
I’m not just a photographer, I consider myself a multidisciplinary artist. At the moment I just showcase my photography work but I do a lot of stuff behind that, which I hope to be sharing with you pretty soon. I enjoy shooting but thats not the only thing I love doing. I love life and the ways you can express oneself in different creative ways.
Saying that, I strongly believe I would be designing some streetwear and sneakers. Or producing some music.
Your bio states that you have “developed a well known digital personality”. How has social media helped this? Do you ever feel a pressure to please followers?
Someone wrote my bio for me. But yes, I guess social media helped a lot, especially during the beginning of my professional career. Having a proper following and some artists/athletes I looked up to supporting my work kept me going through hard times.
At one point, I realized that social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook require constant uploading. But the content I want to create is much slower and unless I lower the quality of my work (which I refuse to do), it is not what social media requires.
If you could only shoot in one city for the rest of your life where would it be?