JRP: Fashion Photographer Marcio Rodrigues is the subject of this JRP Blog Spotlight. Thanks Marcio for taking time with our readers.
Marcio Rodrigues: Pleasure being here.
JRP: Where do you call home?
Marcio Rodrigues: I am based in a city called Belo Horizonte, which means “beautiful horizon” and it is the third largest Brazilian City. It is in the state of Minas Gerais, which is famous for its mountains and a very creative fashion industry.
JRP: How did you get your start in photography? Is there any formal training in your background?
Marcio Rodrigues: Well, the first time I was in touch with photography was in New York in the mid 80’s when I was working delivering salads in Manhattan. Some of the customers were studios: modeling agencies and beauty product companies. I used to arrive during the photo sessions and find everything so magical that I didn’t want to go back to the restaurant.
I returned to Brazil, studied photography and went back to New York many times to work as an assistant for some fashion photographers. That was my main training .I studied Visual Communication but the photography classes were not so good.
JRP: Why have you pursued fashion photography as a career?
Marcio Rodrigues: I think it happened simply because the studios I use to work with were mainly studios of fashion photography. I also worked a lot with advertising agencies on campaigns photographing people, which is my passion. I love to be in touch with people, to direct them and try to get the best out of them. I like to think that everything is a like a theatre play and that I direct the scenes. I like to concept the sets, the scenes, the objects, and everything else. Everybody always tells me that I do it well.
JRP: Do you have a support staff and what areas do they handle?
Marcio Rodrigues: My studio is the biggest in the City. I have a team of 8 people working with me: Two assistants, an administrative assistant, 4 guys manipulating the images, and Shirley, the angel who cooks for us everyday. I have to say that Claudia the Administrative Assistant is an angel too, otherwise she will be very jealous. 🙂
JRP: What equipment would I find in your camera bag or studio for a typical shoot? What lighting equipment do you favor and why?
Marcio Rodrigues: I always carry 2 cameras in my bag, a Hasselblad H3 with a 80 mm and a NIKON D3x with a 50 mm 1.4, an 85 mm 1.8 and a 100 mm 2.0.
In the studio I use a mechanic Hasselblad 503 CW with the PHASE ONE P45 back.
I carry a PROFOTO PRO 7B for my outdoor shootings and I use a lot FRESNEL lights when I am in my studio. I use PROFOTO because they are really portable and the batteries last longer. The quality of the light even if you don’t use any modifier in front of the lamp is great. Fresnel lets you see exactly the light you will have and you can work with different forms of shadows using blinds.
JRP: What light modifiers do you favor and why?
Marcio Rodrigues: I am a classic and old school photographer. Nothing is better than a big umbrella or a simple window.
JRP: Could you describe your digital work-flow and the software you use?
Marcio Rodrigues: I use the CAPTURE ONE software to capture and edit the images taken with the NIKON and the 503 CW Hasselblad and the Phocus for the H3 shots. Normally I shoot and tag the best photos then process them for the client. After they choose the final ones I send them to my downstairs team to Photoshop. I have a team of 4 very good guys who work full-time in my studio. They do 3D and everything!
JRP: Do you personally print your images?
Marcio Rodrigues: No, I use to have a good printer here, but now I send them to a place that I trust.
JRP: How do you keep productive and retain your creative edge?
Marcio Rodrigues: It is very difficult to do it when you work too much with Advertising. When the campaigns arrive, they have already been discussed in so many meetings with the client, the art direction, the production company and a lot of different opinions that you have just to follow the lay-outs. Much more transpiration than inspiration.
With fashion it is different. I can do exactly what I want. I am the director. I try never to lose what I call “the freshness of the amateurism”, buying magazines, paying attention to contemporary artists and visiting museums.
JRP: Are there any memorable images or shoots you could share with us? What made that image or shoot special?
Marcio Rodrigues: I have some images shot for LOFFICIEL magazine which were inspired by Alice in Wonderland that I did almost two years before Tim Burton’s movie. These images were seen all over the world and brought me good results.
My most important images were made for a project called “Sol no ceu da nossa casa” which means “Sun in the sky of our house”. It is about the arrival of electricity in the north of Minas Gerais. These people didn’t have electricity up until the year 2008. Isn’t it incredible? I photographed their way of life, their customs, their beliefs, and I made a book. This work was the winner of the most prestigious and important prize given to an artist for his work in Brazil, called Prize Conrado Wessel of ART. These images are part of Pirelli Collection and of the MASP collection, Museum of Art of Sao Paulo. You can see these photos at one of my websites, www.luminifotografia.com.br.
This project is so important to me, not only because of the prize, but mainly because of the opportunity that I had to work with very poor and sincere people .
JRP: What has been some of the best advice given to you by another photographer?
Marcio Rodrigues: When I began the most important advice someone gave to me was, “Don’t forget to put a film in the camera!” 🙂 That means nothing after the digital revolution. I’ve tried to retain the best of each photographer that I have worked with. I studied their methods a lot, their lighting, their way of treating people, and I tried to use it all in my work.
JRP: What special advice would you like to share with other photographers?
Marcio Rodrigues: I would like to tell them that the equipment they use is very important. The quality of their light is very important, all the knowledge they get in their lives is very important, but the most important thing for success is the respect you have for everybody around you. Your clients, your partners, your employees, and everybody in your work process. The way you treat them will for sure be reflected in your results. Never be lazy to shoot. A photographer is only ready when his camera is an extension of his arms and eyes, and this is only possible when you photograph all the time. Be obsessive in your work.
JRP: Thank you Marcio for sharing your thoughts and images with us. It has been a pleasure.
Marcio Rodrigues: The pleasure was all mine!
JRP: To view more of Marcio Rodrigues’ photography please follow these links: