We had the good fortune of connecting with Renee Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Renee, other than deciding to work for yourself, what else do you think played a pivotal role in your story?
Always believing in my creative vision even when my environment, status or surroundings did not.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a fine art photographer, I am visually absorbed and inherently inspired by heritage, spirituality and culture. I photograph instinctively with my heart. I’m motivated to capture the stillness of life, sacred spaces, textures within architecture and peace within chaos of human events. I discovered after Hurricane Harvey, I wanted to help enlighten the world as a Social Awareness Photographer. I feel what sets me apart from others’ is that my photography is continually evolving and reflective of my unique journey as a woman who has survived trauma including terminal cancer and now Covid-19 with double lung pneumonia. Perhaps two elements that are most evident in my photographs involve texture and linear angles. My style is calm and often involves solitary object placement which internally defines my inner self as I walk the world. I’m attracted to capturing some sense of organization in objects or subjects within a world of constant change. I’m most proud of a one-of-a-kind photography tribute trilogy I created, celebrating the lives of the 49 souls of the 2016 Orlando PULSE Nightclub tragedy. Phase I’s original exhibit was titled, “VIVA PULSE”. The Associated Press shared virally an article created by The Galveston Daily Newspaper and Houston’s Out-Smart Magazine. Phase II’s “PULSATION” was a remembrance exhibit held on the tragedies 1st anniversary celebrating the lives of the victims. After Hurricane Harvey, I created a book tribute titled, “Redemptive LOVE” and presented at the 2018 Houston FotoFest Biennial Portfolio Review. Additionally, by invitation, I was the 1st female at Washington, D.C.’s Museum of the America’s Book Fair premier. The Texans for the Arts Commission organizer then referred my book to the art director at The State Capitol in Austin, Texas whom has agreed for me to exhibit solo which I’m transitioning to a group collaboration (pending 2021) on the tragedies 5th anniversary. I arrived at my current professional status by wearing three major career hats. One as a previous Administrative Assistant with the State of Texas at both U.T.M.B & M.D. Anderson Cancer Center hospitals. Second, as a Private Hospice Caregiver. My love for both customer service and creativity was always two-fold. Third, as a Professional Fine Art Photographer. Albeit never easy however, each always provided balance. Initially, I did not want to do photography full time in order not to burn out (in my earlier commercial wedding photography days). More importantly, photography did not provide health benefits that became increasingly critical to me. Tenacity, self-determination and refusal to fail all assisted with overcoming the challenges! The most important lessons I’ve learned along the way are to simply believe in yourself when all others or the world don’t! Also, true passion for what you love to do will exude naturally within all that you work towards. My mission is simply to reflect visual awareness of all things forgotten. ~
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well lucky for me most of my good friends live in the Houston/surrounding areas. However, some familiar favorite spots of mine (pre Covid-19 pandemic) that I’d probably share with visiting family/friends would probably include, The Heights District where I enjoy strolling around that part of town while navigating the local shops, specifically Casa Ramirez Imports! I always admired Mr. Ramirez (rest his blessed soul) and will always support his families store with all in my life! Similar with most of the Westheimer area! I love the thrift shop scene and my favorite coffee shop Agora in Houston! Another must see experience would be Houston FotoFest, The Museum of Fine Art and Discovery Green areas no doubt! My favorite view of all of Houston is from the top floor (poolside patio) view from The Hilton Americas downtown as well. The near 360 view of Houston is flawless not to mention their incredible bar that makes incredible adult beverages. Albeit I live in Houston now, I could not forget any trip back home to Galveston Island to boot!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I wish to thank my original photography mentor Dion McInnis for always inspiring and guiding my creative journey. God…receives the rest for all my journey’s recognition.
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Renee Rodriguez, Fine Art Photography