Kenny Rodriguez – New York from a person's height
New York, USA,
Street photography has been around for 120+ years and can be understood as the product of an artistic interaction between a photographer and an urban public space. The work of Kenny Rodriguez, therefore, fits into a broader artistic context, already frequented by many illustrious historical examples, including Vivian Meier and Henri Cartier-Bresson, just to name two of the most famous.
Many street photographers insist on using black and white photography, whereas Kenny Rodriguez takes colour shots of New York's urban scene, favouring natural tones. This enables him to expand the narrative register of his pictures and craft shadows and details that give the person looking at his photographs an even richer visual experience.
Because this is the exact purpose of his photography, using his camera at a person's height: he shares an immersive experience of the everyday life of where he lives, the way he sees it. Indeed, we mustn't fall into the rather common trap of confusing street photography with documentary photography or photojournalism. The photographic work of Rodriguez is highly subjective and reflects the real, primary sense of street photography, where it is the photographer's individual approach and his movement through the public urban space that make his photos stand out.
Actually, at a closer look, very few of his shots are an unequivocal record of the New York we all know - or think we know through the endless photographs that populate the web as much as they do our imagination. The things that count here are the unique moments that Rodriguez saw... and captured, faithful to the famous words of Elliot Erwitt, great photographer and former president of the Magnum agency: “To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place... I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.”