Our fifty third interview in this new series of intimate interviews is with talented mobile photographer, Luis Rodríguez, a.k.a. Luisón, from Madrid, Spain. Having met Rodriguez, several times now, in Paris, France, I can endorse this interview as truly representative of him as a person, as a professional, as a photographer and most importantly, as a friend. Rodriguez is inspiring, in all that he does and in all the ways that he achieves it. He’s a steadfast man, a man of principle with an abundance of generosity and talent thrown in with the mix. This interview along with its stunning images, will fuel your mind and inspire you to grab your mobile phone and go shooting. Enjoy!
To read the other published interviews in this series including artists, Adria Ellis, Rino Rossi, Mehmet Duyulmus, Alexis Rotella, Lou Ann Sanford Donahue, Irene Oleksiuk, Kerry Mitchell, Filiz Ak, Dale Botha, Lisa Mitchell, M. Cecilia Sao Thiago, Deborah McMillion, Rita Colantonio, Amy Ecenbarger, Jane Schultz, Anca Balaj, Joyce Harkin, Armineh Hovanesian, Kate Zari Roberts, Vicki Cooper, Peter Wilkin, Barbara Braman, Becky Menzies, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Sarah Bichachi, Michel Pretterklieber, Alon Goldsmith, Judy Lurie Whalberg, Andrea Bigiarni, Sean Hayes, Oola Cristina, Kathleen Magner-Rios, Linda Toki, Deb Field, Emilo Nadales, Lydia Cassatt, David Hayes, Jean Hutter, Frederic Deschênes, Mark Schnidman, Fatma Korkut, Fleur Schim, Rob Pearson-Wright, Dieter Gaebel, James Ellis, Marco P Prado, Jeronimo Sanz, Manuela Matos Monteiro, Bleu Chemiko, Manuela Basaldella, Stefania Piccioni and myself, go here.
All images ©Luis Rodriguez
What was your earliest childhood ambition?
As a child, I had an idol, Félix Rodriguez de la Fuente. I was ten when he suddenly died in a helicopter accident. It´s the only famous person whose death I have cried. I wanted to be a naturalist or biologist, like he was. I loved and still love animals. I don´t recall any other ambition.
I was a very good student, so my marks were always excellent. I do remember a competition I won at school with a poetry written in English, entitled: “Money”. I must have been 12, the age I returned from Ireland, so I could speak fluent English. It ran something like this:
“Money, king and lord,
You are so needed in this world,
Men fight and die for your sake,
You are so well known in every place.
Men are born and
When they are young,
They start to seek you,
But never meet you,
Stop messing around
In this wicked world”
I had no job while I was at school. Once I started studying Architecture at University, I remember working in the afternoons at Manuel de las Casas´ office. I was payed 5 €/hour, and I failed all my exams because I went to university in the morning and then to this office in the afternoon, so I had no time to study. It lasted only an academic year. Then I quit and my marks improved considerably.
Private or State school?
Always Private School, my parents´ choice.
University or work?
As I said before, I studied Architecture at Madrid´s public University at that time.
Who was or still is your mentor?
In my personal life, my parents, no doubt.
In my professional life, the architect I admire most, Alberto Campo Baeza, who was my teacher, my master and my mentor.
I wasn’t born an architect. My father is an architect, so architecture has always been present at home. But I loved animals and wanted to become a naturalist, as I said before. I remember having finished all academic years at school and sitting at my parents house, deciding which career to choose before going to Germany on a one month course abroad. I remember my mother telling me that if I chose to be a biologist I would “die of hunger” (direct translation from Spanish, meaning I wouldn’t earn a single cent during my life). Instead, if I chose Architecture, there would be always my father to support me. Obviously I chose architecture. Then, at the Third academic course at university, when I had to start designing buildings, I had a terrible crisis. I realised I wasn’t made to design, I had terrible difficulties at doing this task. I wanted to quit Architecture and start all over again.
My teacher was Alberto. He received at his home one day before Easter holidays, talked to me, persuaded me to finish and deliver the project we were designing at that time, and advised me to rest during the holidays and think over everything calmly, in no rush. After holidays, I decided to continue with Architecture. I had lunch with Alberto last June, 28 years after this episode.
How physically fit are you?
This is a tricky question for me. I am 49 years old and I swim at leat three times a week since I was small. I have a very athletic body, the body of a regular swimmer. So you would say, by looking at me, that I am in a very good shape. But the truth is that I’m not that fit. I can’t run, not even short distances, I get immediately tired. Swimming is like walking to me, I make no effort, but running is an imposible task.
On the other hand, I sleep very badly since my youth. I don´t rest enough and I am always tired. Maybe there’s something more, I don´t know, but that’s the truth. I always say I’m like the old Cuban cars I’m good on the outside, but can’t deny I’m old in the inside. LOL
Ambition or Talent. What matters more to success?
Definitely ambition. I know a lot of talented people who have not succeeded because they are not ambitious. And I see a lot of ordinary, even vulgar people, who have succeeded in life. I believe we live in a very vulgar society where talent is not rewarded, unfortunately.
How politically committed are you?
Not very much. I don´t believe in politicians. I like to say I would believe in politic if there were no politicians. I’m probably wrong, but I believe that no-one is born a politician, with the aim to fix other people’s lives. Those who become politicians do so because they are ambitious, no matter what their ideas are. There’s corruption everywhere, right political ideas, left political ideas (sorry, I don’t know how to express myself better)
Speaking on a more personal scale, I am committed to the environment, I carefully recycle my rubbish, try to reduce the use of plastics, firmly believe in the equal rights for men and women. I have three daughters, I want for them the best future possible, the same chances, opportunities and rights as their male mates. So, I have to preach with my own example (again, a direct translation from a Spanish sentence)
What would you like to own that you don’t currently possess?
Believe or not, I’m not an ambitious or greedy person. I have everything I long for, starting with my family, my most precious treasure. I can’t think of anything specific I would love to own that I don’t currently have. I’m a very normal and ordinary person.
What is your biggest extravagance?
I’ve been thinking for five minutes, and I haven’t come to any conclusion. As I said, I’m a very normal person.
In which places are you happiest?
At home, whether in Madrid or in Ayamonte, during our holidays. I’m a family man, I love to be with my people, at our places. I love to travel, of course, like everyone does, but whenever I return home, I always say “home, sweet home”.
We have an apartment in Ayamonte, in the south of Spain, by the sea. We had to rent it for some years during a harsh time we went though. Things got a bit better, so we don’t rent it now. Ayamonte is our second home. Whenever we go, my toothbrush is in the same place, the sheets I slept in the last time I was there are waiting for me to sleep in them again. This is the kind of feeling that makes me happy.
What ambitions do you still have?
Personally, to give my daughter’s the best education possible. Candela, the eldest, studied a full academic year in Ireland two yeas ago. That meant a huge economical effort to the family. Martina is going to study another full academic year in three days time (will be by the time you read this interview). Can we afford it? With great difficulty. But my wife and I think the best way to learn English is by living abroad, and English is a “must” nowadays in our society. So…
Professionally, as an architect I have no ambition whatsoever. In fact, my profesional career is tremendously boring. I do appraisals for a living. So boring and totally without creativity. That’s why I love mobile photography so much. All my free time is dedicated to mobile photography, it provides me with the best excuse to forget the tiresome activity of my job.
I would love to grow as a mobile photographer and achieve a higher recognitions as such. I have been numerously times awarded with Honorable Mention, Finalist, Runner-Up Winner at the most prestigious mobile photography competitions worldwide, but I’ve never won a category, not even a Second or Third Prize. If I ever do so, I will be extremely happy.
What drives you on?
My family. Simple and clear.
What is the greatest achievement of my life so far?
I have no doubt at all, my three daughters. I couldn’t have done it better, three incredibly beautiful, intelligent, social and loving kids. I’m so proud of each one of them: Candela (16), Martina (14) and Daniela (3). My wife is 50% responsible, of course. LOL
What do you find most irritating in other people?
Two things: liars and ass-lickers (sorry about the last word…)
If your twenty year old self could see you now, what would she think?
He would think I should have been more ambitious, I should fight more for what I want, but would be very proud of the family I have.
Which object that you’ve lost do you wish you still had?
Nothing, I swear.
What is the greatest challenge of our time?
Climate change, no doubt of it. Equal rights for men and women. A better and more collaborative society. Immigration. Anything that has to be with our planet, at a bigger scale.
Do you believe in the afterlife?
I don´t know what to believe. I did, when I was young. I think I don´t, nowadays.
If you had to rate your life satisfaction so far, out of ten, what would it be?
Professionally 5, personally 10
We have a small favour to ask. More people than ever are reading TheAppWhisperer.com and we could not be more excited about that. We specialise in mobile photography and mobile art and we value all of our readers, writers, contributors and viewers but we do have costs and we do need to ask for your help. We at TheAppWhisperer spend many hours each day, each week and each month to bring you this high quality level of journalism. We do it because we are passionate about it and because we want others to be as passionate too.
If everyone who reads our website, who likes it, helps to support it, our future would be so much more secure. Please help us by offering a contribution or supporting us with a monthly donation of your choosing.