The photographer who grew up documenting his father almost lost him due to Covid-19 which extended their bond.
Corona virus have changed us in many different ways, how we see our families, some of have lost our loved ones and we had to deal with the difficulty of not seeing our loved ones for the very last time. And some of us have become more closer to our families due to the pandemic.
When considering Christian Rodriguez, A Dominican American Photographer from New York. The photographs that he captured of his father have become a lifeline during this devastating time period.
On the first stage of this covid 19, his father turned out to be incredibly sick. Rodriguez documented a project on how it effected on his family and the bond with his father. Rodriguez explained, “I began taking photos of my father during my college years. I’d come home for winter and summer break and follow him around.” During this time in 2013, Rodriguez was far away from home. He was at Savannah College of Art and Design and experienced a different culture of American South.
“I don’t have any photos of my grandparents and know basically nothing about my great-grandparents. I’d like to imagine young Dominicans in the future getting a glimpse of what it meant to be us in 2020, and to see it in such detail that it encompasses years and years of life.”
Rodriguez’s relationship with his father after Rodriguez started photographing him.
Rodriguez says that his father came to the US in the early ’80s from the Dominican Republic. His father and he were not close at the time because they didn’t understand each other, “He couldn’t understand me, what my world was, and it just drove us apart.” Then Rodriguez has started to question the ways and means of capitalism and immigration that gave them an opportunity for a better life. His father never put aside the work to build up relationships with his kids. In 2013, it turned out to be entirely diffrent when Rodriguez started photographing his father. But still his father saw it as a school project. Rodriguez kept photographing his father for a years and later it created a connection between them which they never had.
The way Rodriguez’s photography of his father shaped his other work.
He says that it inspired him to document various difficult realities for the new generation in the country. He has sought to illustrate who people truly are, their strength and potential, not just as immigrants, but as beings, with that empathy.
How 2020 served the photographer.
They had an amazing 2020 New year party and had a feeling that it will be his year for sure without realizing how the new year turned out to be. After the lockdown, his mom had called him to say that his father is sick. Within a week of that call, his father’s doctors contacted them and asked them to say whatever they wanted because they were likely to lose him. It was shocking information.
The photographer motivated his father by saying he would beat this and will be fine soon. But it didn’t workout as it is.
Photography simply became a means for him to chronicle, a way for him to break up the sadness. It gave his mother and him a break. They would take walks in the park and admire the blooming flowers. They appeared to be working through this together.
Life with father after he got sick.
Photographer explained, “things started being normal, two weeks ago the last bit of recovery ended. Father had a feeding tube placed for almost one year. There were a lot of endless appointments and physical therapy. So finally he started going out for afternoon walks and lived back an independent life.
Future of the photography project.
He’s recently expressed an interest in seeing this and other of Rodriguez’s projects collide, resulting in a crescendo of stories and a more complete picture of what it’s like to be an immigrant, Dominican, and the very tangible connection between these two islands. What will it resemble? He’s not sure, but he’s devoting more and more time to it.
Photographer’s photo goals for 2021
In his opinion, this frequently shifts, but 2021 is a significant year for him. He’s approaching his 30th birthday, and he’s more driven than ever to growing his work and pushing himself into places he’s been afraid or hesitant to go.
Rodriguez wants to get back into the studio and work out some of the concepts that have been circling in his head. He wants to be as uncomfortable as possible because discomfort is frequently where progress occurs. He wants to strengthen ties between the Dominican Republic, New York, and the rest of the diaspora.
Image courtesy: Christian Rodriguez
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