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Argentinian photographer Judith Rodriguez said the Eyes on Main Street photo festival brings art to the people.
Rodriguez, who is visiting Wilson for the third time, is the April artist-in-residence.
“It doesn’t matter if you are a child, if you are an old person, if you are black or white, art is for all of us,” Rodriguez said.
Today, volunteers with the festival will begin hanging 100 poster-sized photo enlargements in downtown Wilson for the fifth edition of Eyes on Main Street. The festival begins April 27.
Rodriguez arrived in Wilson on April 3 and has been a photographer since 2012.
EDUCATION: University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, master’s degree with psychology major
HOW DID YOU GET INTERESTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY?: Initially, Rodriguez wanted to be a painter. “I was a disaster,” he said.
Rodriguez was frustrated that she couldn’t paint and that pointed her in the direction of photography.
“I took up photography because I thought it was a way to see the world, to see it with different eyes,” Rodriguez said. “I studied photography. I took many workshops with Antoine d’Agata, from Magnum. I always looked for masters.”
Rodriguez asked Adriana Lestido, a respected Argentinian photographer, to be her mentor.
“In Buenos Aires, it is not common to study photography in university,” Rodriguez said. “People in general do not do workshops and are self-taught or study with masters.”
Rodriguez fell in love with photography.
“My camera goes with me wherever I go,” Rodriguez said. “Even at home, I take photos and my camera is always near me.”
WHAT HAVE YOU PHOTOGRAPHED IN WILSON?: “Portraits. I am interested in portraits. I am trying to find those little details that make Wilson be Wilson,” Rodriguez said. “Wherever I go, I take portraits. I not only want to talk about the place itself, but I want to talk about human beings where ever I am. So the details I am looking for here in Wilson, I want them to talk about Wilson, but about humanity also.”
WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE EYES ON MAIN STREET FESTIVAL?: “I love the festival because the photos, they go back to the street,” Rodriguez said. “They put those big photos in the streets for everybody to see. Sometimes when the photos are only in a museum, people don’t see them. This way, the photos come back to the people to be seen by everybody. Then you have the exhibits, of course. Those big photos invite you to go on to see the exhibits that are inside.”
Rodriguez said the festival appeals to photography creators and consumers.
“If you are a photographer, it is interesting for you because there are lecturers. You can see exhibitions. You can grow as a photographer. You are in contact with other photographers. Many photographers are coming this year,” Rodriguez said. “And if you are not a photographer, you can enjoy art. Anyone, poor, rich, good, bad, everybody. There is no difference. The photos are in the street, so I think it is very nice.”
Rodriguez has always shot with a digital camera and has never used film.
“I work in black and white, 100 percent,” Rodriguez said. “I think it is more conceptual. I love some photographers that do color, but in my case, I feel more free with the black and white because the color distracts. I can go to the bone of the image, the essence. It helps me. It doesn’t mean that I don’t like color. Sometimes it is another thing to pay attention to. It’s another language to manage. I prefer to manage one language.”
Rodriguez made a point of thanking everyone in the community who took time out of their days to have their portraits made.
“I am grateful, deeply grateful, from my heart,” Rodriguez said. “I think people are very generous here. I am very respectful. If they say no, I don’t take the photo. I always ask permission because I like portraits.”
People can visit www.judithrodriguezphotography.com to see images from the photographer’s previous trip to Wilson.
For a full listing of Eyes on Main Street events and background information on the festival, visit www.eyesonmainstreetwilson.com/news/.