Metal Heat is our first exclusive feature from Austin-based photographer Monique Rodriguez. We chat with Monique about finding your style and realizing your destiny in the photo pit at SXSW…
Tell us a little bit about yourself; when did you first know that you wanted to be a photographer?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a great love for photos. It wasn’t until I was in my 20s that I started taking a camera into all the shows I went to and always made it a point to get some shots. I mustered up the courage to submit what I had to SXSW and was accepted onto the photo team, which is how I got my start. In my first year, I did SXSW, ACL festival and FunFunFun festival. The portraits started the year after in 2014. I think the first time I was in a photo pit at SXSW in 2013 was when I knew this was something I wanted to do forever.
What’s important to me, and any photographer, is that some sort of emotion is felt with the images that I make.
How would you define your style and what is it that you want your images to say to the viewer?
Right now I am still developing my style. I am perpetually on the look-out for work that will inspire me and I like to experiment with different styles. I enjoy high contrast, hard lines and also delicate foliage and soft light. I think it’ll be a while until I can claim a style as my own; for now I’m just having fun being all over the place. What’s important to me, and any photographer, is that some sort of emotion is felt with the images that I make. Whatever the reaction is, I want it to stir something in you that makes you remember. Images always have that kind of power on me.
Who or what are biggest sources of inspiration for your photography?
Instagram is the easiest way to sift through photos until I find something I love. I like to keep tabs on my favorite Austin photographers such as Edgar Valdez and Nico Nordstrom because their work is consistently beautiful and so different.
What is the best piece of photography advice that you have received?
Shoot in RAW. You get so much more information in a RAW file compared to a Jpeg.
What has been the high-point to date with your photography?
This marks my sixth editorial featured in a magazine in 2015. I am super grateful that others are responding to my work, it’s a genuine surprise every time!
Are you currently working on any projects that you can tell us about?
I’m currently working on some concepts for a series next year. My goal is to put together an exhibit.
You can see more of Monique’s work at:
All images copyright Monique Rodriguez.
Models: Thuraya Altai & Deja San
Hair and Make-up: Stephanie Gregg
Wardrobe: Monkies Vintage