Michael Rodriguez Dueñas and I have been talking about doing an interview here for quite some time now. I’ve always been fascinated by people who can take amazing photos; possibly because I find that task so incredibly challenging. So I’ve been meaning to feature more photography on this site. Michael happens to be a talented photographer from here in Los Angeles. He grew up in Hollywood and started out shooting graffiti on the walls of the city at a young age. In the years since, he has assisted both Eriberto and Estevan Oriol, giving him invaluable experience and enabling him to branch out and build an impressive portfolio of his own work.
What are you working on? Currently working on several projects. A photo series on Cuba, another on music artists, lastly on Urban lifestyle. I’ve being shooting look books for various apparel brands. Also, on a collaboration with filmmaker/photographer Ryan Correll, titled Light Regions, we will be producing photo and video content. I recently had the opportunity to explore Habana, Cuba for fifteen days and nights. It was a surreal experience learning about the Cuban lifestyle, people, food, culture, music and making new friends.
What was your first introduction to photography? A major influence to my introduction to photography was from my Mother. I remember she would take black/white and color photos, during family gatherings, vacations and dinner parties. She would always give our family members and her friends, copies of the pictures. She had several photo albums throughout the house, constantly updating them with old/new memories. Besides, being impacted by a picture of my mother’s youngest brother/ my uncle. He was killed during the civil war in El Salvador. I never had a chance to meet him in person.
When did you decide to pursue photography as a career? When I first started taking photos, I didn’t know I wanted to pursue as a career. As I took more and more photos, I began to thoroughly analyze my career goals. This enabled me to make the decision to pursue photography as one of my careers.
Did you study photography formally or are you self taught? I am a self-taught photographer. I’m always learning something new about craftsmanship of photography which each shoot.
How would you describe your personal style of photography? My personal style is to capture the inner character of my subject matters and conveys some a visual narrative that engages viewer.
What are some of the major highlights in your work/portfolio so far? The highlights of my work are shooting fashion, urban lifestyle and music artists from different genres, such as: Rene from Calle 13, Mc Eight, Edward Sharpre of The Magnetic Zeros, John Waters, Flavor Flav, Doc Martin, members of Major Lazer, Peanut Butter Wolf, Swiss Beats, Neville Staple from The Specials, Buraka Som Sistema, Band of Skulls, Lil Wayne, and members of Odd Future.
What have you got planned moving forward? Keep shooting photos and producing content, while standing out from the pack.
Where do you find inspiration? My inspiration comes from growing up and living in the gritty city of Los Angeles.
What are your interests beyond photography? Developing, producing and working on features, television, and commercial productions. Traveling to other countries, learning about different cultures and food. I have a great appreciation for chefs, cooks, and grandmas, who get down and cook from the heart…