We had the good fortune of connecting with Manny Rodriguez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Manny, do you have a favorite quote or affirmation?
One of my favorite quotes is by photographer Hans Neleman, “If there’s one thing I have learned, it’s just to work from the gut, your heart, to do whatever inspires you. The best thing is to not run after what everyone else is doing. It is doing what you feel is important. Finding a way to apply to commerce is not your job. That, somebody else will do.”  This is something I have always taken to heart. Of course it’s tough when you are working for advertising agencies and corporations that expect a certain predictable result. But one still needs to push. Many times they listen to you and they accept. That can be very satisfying for the artist in the me. It really doesn’t matter what it is, if it’s been done before, or not. Just do it. Do it to satisfy yourself. If you think this way, you will become more demanding of yourself as a photographer and think more like an art director.

Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I take pictures for a living.  Doesn’t get any dreamier than that! Food, homes, things for the home, people, people and their food!  I’ve been doing it for over 35 years, have shot just about everything under the sun. Living the dream!  My strength, I strongly believe, is my ability to self art direct my photos. In other words, looking at a project, and being able to offer ideas, bring creative solutions to the table. Simply bringing a camera and lights to a photo shoot, just doesn’t cut it any more these days. You have to be able to offer ideas, concepts, and solutions. If you can do that AND light well, have good compositional skills, you will always be sought out among the competition.

If there is one thing I would like the world to know about me as photographer, it would be, that I can “feel the light”. When I look at a subject, be it a still life or a person, I am always seeing and feeling how the light interacts with the shapes, where the highlights, mid-tones, and shadows fall, and all that I can do with that!

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?
Tough one. If we are staying in Dallas, I would definitely start at my studio with a Cortado. Early morning when the sun is entering through my big windows. Have a long conversation about life, relationships, dreams, politics, religion, sex. I’ll offer to take a portrait of them. Late lunch at Mia’s, for the best Tex Mex in Dallas. A walk through downtown Dallas, Arts District. Plan a mojito party for the studio that evening and invite my friends to meet. I have a very diverse, eclectic, bohemian, but very interesting group of friends. Dance salsa till we cant move our hips any more!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Heather Williams, my Rep. Without her “we can do this” attitude, I don’t know how I would have survived this year!

Website: www.mannyrodriguez.com
Instagram: @fotomanny and @mannyrodriguez_art
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/manny-rodriguez-9858a6/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DallasFoodPhotographer/?ref=bookmarks

Image Credits
Manny Rodriguez

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