SJG Creative Director, Cesar Augusto Rodriguez

I was born in 1969 in Havana, Cuba and began taking photographs as a child. My father, a professional photographer, brought me to shoots and into the darkroom where he developed his photos. He taught me every step of the process of photography.

During my teenage years, I worked as a photographer in several photo studios in Havana. I started as a photographer’s assistant and then moved on to become a professional photographer.

Immediately after completing high school, I began working for the Cuban Navy as a photographer documenting military maneuvers across Cuba.

In 1989, I was admitted as a photography student to the Instituto Superior de Arte, Cuba’s most prestigious art university. I started making short films and eventually switched my major to Motion Picture Directing. Although it has taken me many years to really accept my true passion, my first love is photography. It is who I am and what I was made to do. But, I am also a Creative Director, which is the reason why I always present myself as both: a Photographer and a Creative Director. It is easy to see why I do both things simultaneously because they artistically fit together.

However, I always come back to taking pictures because it is in my DNA; it is what allows me to be a better Creative Director and a better person. Through photography I am able to create a world that is unique to my vision, my own universe.

Many photographers have a unique style; they follow a path, a unique “look.” My take on photography is a little bit different. Photography gives me the opportunity to interpret my life, to hold onto my “present”. As a creative person, I wake up every day with the desire to create, and I refuse to cage my photography or creative products into a look or style. I equally love Photoshop and experimenting in the darkroom.

One of my favorite photographs that I have ever taken is of an old man praying in church. Like every Sunday, I attended mass at my church and noticed an older man sitting behind that looked so sad. I could not help but taking a photograph of him. I call the man, “Fred”. The photo of “Fred” is one of the photographs that were chosen by the Chicago Art Source Gallery for a show in June 2011. A total of 12 of my prints will be showcased.

I will end with something that better explains my passion for photography, my artist statement:

I was born surrounded by water and spent my youth imagining and thinking about the blank canvas delineated by the horizon. Geography and politics kept my body isolated, but my mind’s eye was always looking for what could be “más allá”, or just beyond. I grew up under the equally surreal influences of the Caribbean breeze and Soviet propaganda, now submerged under leagues of the “diaspora” sea.

I don’t see an ocean; I see a pirate ship sailing. I don’t see a boy running in the sand; I see myself thirty years ago in Cuba. I don’t see a little house in the forest; I see the house where I was born, now lost in my memories. I see crosses in the sand, bodies coming out of the water. I don’t see an elephant in a zoo’s false savannah; I see a winged mammoth, a talking bird, a purple sky. I don’t see a mailbox at a parking lot in the supermarket; I see a mailbox floating in the ocean and a stork delivering a baby.

I don’t see myself in the mirror. I see my son in the future.

This is how I see the world and, it is through photography that I am able to communicate my vision the best way I can.

Cesar Augusto
www.cesarshots.com

For more information about this topic please email sjgpr@sjadv.com. For more information about The San Jose Group please visit www.thesanjosegroup.com

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