by Summer L. Douglass
“Eyes That I May See,” an exhibition by Paul Rodriguez, is on display through Oct. 22 in the Irene Carlson Gallery of Photography, located in the University of La Verne’s Miller Hall.
Rodriguez graduated from the University of Southern California in 1978, with a bachelor’s degree in broadcast journalism. He worked as a photographer for the school’s newspaper, The Daily Trojan.
Rodriguez has since become a noted photojournalist who is presenting this exhibition as his first solo gallery show. He is a member of the photography staff at the Orange County Register and has photographed people and cultures from all around the world.
His work has also appeared on the cover of Newsweek. The picture was of a man during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
Rodriguez has also covered other major news events, including the relief effort in Somalia, the 1988 World Series and the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
Many of the pictures featured at the photo gallery are from special assignments Rodriguez covered in Mexico and South Africa. Cuba and Guatemala are also places Rodriguez has photographed.
Rodriguez named this exhibition “Eyes That I May See” for different reasons, one being that he is grateful for the experiences in his life that have led him to this point.
“I am thankful, first of all, that I have eyes to see,” said Rodriguez, “and second, that I can see to do my work, and to recognize colors and patterns that create these photographs.”
Photography is a way of life for Rodriguez, and sharing an understanding about photojournalism is possible through a program he helped to create called Photo Night.
Five years ago, with the help of fellow photographers Bruce and Claudia Strong, he started the program to give photographers in the area a place to talk with colleagues and show their work to others.
“Photo Night started as a way to get Southern California photographers together to further their visual education,” said Rodriguez.
Photo Night started in the originators’ homes. Each month the program grows, with more people becoming interested in the different types of photography. Due to the increase of people at the event, Rodriguez now holds the program at the Garden Grove Theater Complex each month.
“Paul has a remarkable capacity to use photographs in a documentary style,” said Photography Professor Gary Colby. “I have always appreciated the puzzling nature of his documentary photography style.”
According to Rodriguez, when he sees something that communicates a story or a feeling, he captures it in a photograph. He said that the pictures in the exhibit communicate a different feeling and tell a different story to each individual.
For example, a picture of a homeless woman sitting on the sidewalk, may convey different messages to viewers.
“Photography is powerful in moving cultures,” said Colby. “The goal is to offer a different way to tell a story.”
A lecture on the exhibit will be held Sept. 30, at 7:30 p.m. in La Fetra Auditorium. A reception will follow the lecture.