GEORGE RODRIGUEZ discusses his photography book DOUBLE VISION with JOSH KUN

Double Vision: The Photography of George Rodriguez (Hat & Beard Press)

Double Vision: The Photography of George Rodriguez is the first-ever career retrospective of the Los Angeles photographer. Containing over 200 photographs selected by Rodriguez in concert with scholar, writer, and curator Josh Kun, the book spans five decades of photographic work split across two vastly different lives: his glamorous work for film studios and record labels, processing film for Hollywood photographers and shooting countless photographs of the era’s biggest stars, alongside vivid, bracing images documenting the social movements and protests that were exploding on the streets of Los Angeles and throughout the country (including the historic Chicano student protests of 1968, the East Los Angeles Walkouts, which celebrate their 50 th anniversary this year).

Taken together, these photographs traverse the 1950s through the 1990s – Jim Morrison and Cesar Chavez, film premieres and student protests, the 1970 Chicano Moratorium and the 1992 L.A. uprisings, boxing gyms and recording studios, the Dodgers and the Brown Berets, beaches and barrios, farmworker newspaper El Malcriado and teen magazine Tiger Beat – and offer a rare half-century visual exploration of Los Angeles (with extensive forays to the California Central Valley) through the diverse photographic eye of a native son.

“I’d never known what the word ‘eclectic’ really meant, but now I know it’s been used to describe me,” said Rodriguez. “I’ve been very lucky, but luck only happens when you take the picture. It takes a lot of work to get to that point.”

Culled from a sprawling personal and professional archive of thousands, Double Vision marks the first time that Rodriguez’ two lives, his career of double exposures, have been gathered into a single volume. Until now, only his images of Chicana/o protest and politics have ever appeared in published volumes, gallery, or museum exhibitions.
“George’s photographs offer a rare opportunity to see the multiple layers of life in Los Angeles through the lens of a single person,” says Kun. “The book is also a chance to firmly write George, and by extension other photographers of color, into the mainstream histories of Los Angeles’ visual record”

A student of Sid Avery and a contemporary of Dennis Hopper, but born in South Los Angeles and often working as the first Latino photographer in the room at a time when his own rights were on the line, Rodriguez is one of the great visual documentarians of Los Angeles and of the cultural complexities of Mexican-American life.
Details for additional events surrounding the release of Double Vision, including an exhibition at The Lodge in East Hollywood, will be added to as
they are confirmed.

The career of photographer George Rodriguez reveals a visual history of Los Angeles that spans over 45 years. Born and raised in South L.A., he has documented some of the most important struggles in the city’s history: the East Los Angeles Student Walkouts, the Chicano Moratorium, and the United Farm Workers movement, alongside others. Through his work in the television, recording, and film industries, he has photographed stars like Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Lucille Ball, Michael Jackson, Jim Morrison, and more. A student of Sid Avery and a contemporary of Dennis Hopper, Rodriguez was often the first Latino photographer in the room at a time when his own rights were on the line. His first career retrospective, Double Vision: The Photography of George Rodriguez will be released by Hat & Beard Press in April 2018, edited by scholar and MacArthur Fellow Josh Kun. Containing many never-before-published photos from his vast personal archive, the volume reveals Rodriguez as one of the great visual documentarians of Los Angeles and Mexican-American life.

Josh Kun is a 2016 MacArthur Fellow and the winner of a 2018 Berlin Prize and a 2006 American Book Award. His research focuses on the arts and politics of cultural connection, with an emphasis on popular music, sound, the cultures of globalization, the US-Mexico border, Los Angeles, and Jewish-American musical history. He also works as a journalist, essayist and curator. He is the director of The Popular Music Project at USC Annenberg’s Norman Lear Center and co-editor (with Ron Radano and Nina Sun Eidsheim) of the book series Refiguring American Music for Duke University Press. He co-curates Crossfade Lab, a conversation and performance series that occurs across multiple sites in Phoenix, Arizona. He founded the USC Annenberg Distinguished Lecture Series on Latin American Arts & Culture. He serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Communication, Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, Journal of Popular Music Studies, and Public Culture. Kun is the author of Audiotopia: Music, Race, and America (UC Press), which won a 2006 American Book Award and two books based on the special collections of the Los Angeles Public Library: Songs in the Key of Los Angeles (2013, Angel City Press) which was awarded a Phi Kappa Phi Faculty Merit Recognition Award, and To Live and Dine in L.A.: Menus and the Making of the Modern City (2015, Angel City Press), which was covered by The New Yorker, Newsweek, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, National Public Radio, The Hollywood Reporter, and many more. As a critic and journalist, Kun has contributed to The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The American Prospect, Los Angeles Magazine, LA Weekly, and other publications.

Photo by Jeremy Deputat

Event date: 
Wednesday, July 18, 2018 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027