George Rodriguez - Returning Artist

"George Rodriguez never set out to become a photographer. Photography came to him.

It was 1954. He was at Fremont High School in South Los Angeles, and he needed an elective to meet graduation requirements.

“A friend said, ‘Take photography, it’s easy,’” he recalls, seated in his cluttered downtown Los Angeles studio.

That class set the course of his life. For more than half a century, Rodriguez has made pictures for magazines and record labels and, most importantly, for himself.

He has photographed celebrities — including Jim Morrison playing an early gig at the Whiskey a Go Go in 1966. But he has also covered civil unrest. In 1968, when his day job was managing the photo lab at Columbia Pictures, he’d hop in his car on his lunch hour and take pictures of the student walkouts in East Los Angeles.

“I was the manager,” he says with a grin, “so I could be a little bit late coming back.”

Rodriguez’s work is too vast to fit into a single book. (The photographer estimates he has roughly 40 flat files stuffed with photographs and negatives at his Pico Rivera home.) But a new book, “Double Vision: The Photography of George Rodriguez,” released this month by Hat & Beard Press, synthesizes his eclectic career into a single, manageable volume.

This was no easy task."

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Please pardon the glare.

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