Meet Roxy Rodriguez, a Los Angeles-based photographer with a fun and feminine style who is our current obsession. Working with her is a dream, and her process is equal amounts work and play (as it should be!). Read on to find out more about your new favorite person:
How did you begin photography?
During my childhood, my father worked as a photojournalist for a local newspaper. He worked with film cameras and I would spend my weekends with him driving from San Diego to LA photographing anything and everything we saw. I grew up surrounded by camera equipment and empty film canisters. Fast forward to high school, when I decided to take a photography class. I became obsessed with the work I developed in that class. I started shooting my friends—I would tell them how to pose and set up the whole scene. After, I’d process and edit the photos (on some shitty online editor) I thought to myself “DAMN I’M SO GOOD, THESE PHOTOS SHOULD BE IN A MAGAZINE!!” when really my photo was a sepia toned mess. Even when my work was shit, I was proud of it. Of course there is learning from mistakes and growing which comes naturally with anything you are constantly working hard at.
Describe your aesthetic. How does it compare to the industry you’re in?
When I set up a shoot, I try and imagine the subject as a character—what kind of girl is this? what’s her story? why is she in these clothes? why is she at this location? I’m not a fashonista by any means. I would consider my style to be like that of a 15 year old boy who loves rock and roll and also is in boy scouts. So if I try and pretend like I know all about fashion and what looks “good” it would get my work no where. I think fashion is very subjective. I base my shoots on the story I am trying to tell.
To me, Nakid’s aesthetic is like that of a cool older sister who I see going out every night until dawn, who’s not afraid of her sexuality, who loves freely without any inhibition. She’s the girl I have in me but have yet to grow into. Every time I shoot I push myself to be that girl who takes risks and isn’t afraid of what others will think. Nakid is beautiful in that way. It can walk into a room and say “this is who I am, if you don’t like me then fuck you!”
What are your thoughts about feminism in fashion?
I feel like it is still very misunderstood and any woman who shows too much skin is deemed inappropriate. I think the human body is such a beautiful thing and never something to hide. There are so many factors to take into account when judging a photo. Like, is a woman is posing with a man, what is the message the photo is sending? If a woman is naked what was the artist trying to convey? Ideally, people would look at photography and art for its purpose and message and not get offended. Seriously, people need to get over themselves. If you look at something and you don’t like or you don’t understand it, move along. No need to get offended by it and let it ruin your day.
Who is your dream client – what kind of shoot would you create?
Dream client… right now it would have to be Jennifer Lawrence. It’s all about the personality. I feel like we would glam her up, shoot shoot shoot, then strip her down to her raw self (plain clothing and a black backdrop) shoot shoot shoot and everything I would get on the camera would be REAL, and GENUINE, no matter what the theme of the shoot is. We would laugh the whole time and probably get drunk and then grab pizza after.
How do you utilize color in your work?
Colors are EVERYTHING! Color isn’t just something that gets decided last minute. For example, I recently did a shoot where I had my subject crying. I wanted my audience to look at the photo and feel the heartbreak she was feeling. In order to do that, I wasn’t going to select a bright wardrobe with a white backdrop. Instead, I put her in a deep blue dress with a black backdrop. I wanted her to look like she missed the bus and had to walk two blocks in the rain to her empty apartment after being stood up. Color can change everything about the photograph and that’s why it’s so important to get it right.
What’s your current camera setup? What’s your ideal camera setup?
Right now I’m working with a Canon 60D, I have two favorite lenses—my 50MM and my 35MM. These lenses are my secret weapons. Ideally, I’d upgrade my body to at least a Canon Mark III. For now, I’m ballin’ on a budget.
Do you like working alone, or with a team? Who is your go-to team?
There is no way I would be able to pull off what I see in my head without talented hair, makeup, and wardrobe professionals. There are definitely a handful of people I find myself constantly working with because they are amazing! For makeup, Annie Presley, the type of person who is always down for an adventure – we will literally drive up to the middle of no where for a shoot blasting 90’s music the whole way. When she asks me, “what kind of makeup do you want for this?” I can just kind of make some sort of facial gesture or tell her what mood I’m going for and BOOM! when she is done the model is sitting there with a perfect face. She always knows exactly what I’m going for and can basically read my mind. For hair—Omar Alvizo, he comes in and I tell him the theme for the shoot and say “have fun” and he delivers a FLAWLESS and unique hairstyle for every look and every shoot.
What is your editing process like?
Editing is therapeutic for me. I could do it all day (and usually do). I’m always listening to music, of course, and probably have a cup of coffee or tea at my desk. I save and back up all photos then I go through and select the best ones. I usually end up with 60 – 100 final photos. I know some photographers do less than 5 per shoot but I love editing and I don’t mind having lots of photos to edit. I do, however, have a hard time being cohesive with my edits. Although they are all “one set” I often times end up with 2 or 3 different edits in the same shoot. Just because I felt like that particular photo needed that particular type of edit.
What are you listening to right now?
Right now I’m listening to PAPA’s album – Tender Madness but oh man music is like a second life source for me. It definitely inspires me. Whether it’s a Social Distortion song that gets me in a good mood, or a Airborne Toxic Event song that makes my heart skip a beat, or a Ben Howard song that brings a smile to my face or tears to my eyes. Music helps me tell that story and convey that feeling across a photograph. It’s funny because you can’t hear music when you’re looking at a photograph but you can definitely convey a feeling when looking at a photograph, the same feeling I had when I was shooting and listening to a certain song.
How do you find your inspiration?
I find a lot of inspiration in other people. I’ll meet someone in line at the grocery store and think of a shoot based on what I picture her life to be like, and I’ll find inspiration in other art – paintings, movies, books, music, and more!! I definitely find myself studying the work of other photographers who I admire. Not because I want to shoot the same photograph, but more to try and figure out what they were trying to do, and how they did it. I don’t think you can ever stop learning. If there is something I can do I have no problem sharing how to do it, and helping other artists get there.
Where in LA do you like to drink? Eat? Party?
I just recently hung out and stayed at Palihouse in West Hollywood, their drinks and DJ were awesome! Cliffs Edge for night life and Barbaric for brunch in Silver Lake are also amazing places. The LACMA and Getty of course. The best part about LA is that there are hidden gems around every corner, every street is a new opportunity to eat, to shoot, and to fall in love. The city has so much character!
Any advice for other artists?
Believe in your work and DON’T COMPARE yourself to any other artist. Also don’t be afraid to take risks! Your work belongs to you and you only. Of course you should take constructive criticism with an open mind especially if you are still figuring out who you are. You can always learn more; there is always something that you don’t know. Lastly, enjoy every minute of your art, from the beginning to the end.