Your background in professional dance continues to be an inexhaustible source for your projects. Looking at these photos feels like standing next to performers in a contemporary piece or watching a still from a Bill Viola’s video. At the same time we find references to Avedon and Muybridge. What do you look at to find inspiration for your work? What interests you about the movement of the body?
Luis Alberto Rodriguez: I simply can’t divorce my history as a dancer from my experience as a photographer. Dance and theater have shaped me, I will forever find inspiration in the endless unlocking of possibilities in the human body. Photography however is a newer love; a second wind for me. While I document form, an immense interest in portraiture has sprung.
I think of our bodies as vessels of information and communication. Each composed of the experiences in our lives that are unique to us. These histories inform the way they move through the world and I am fascinated by this. I am not particularly interested in making dance photography as it is too familiar to me. But I use the knowledge of the body I have to get a bit closer to some kind of honesty.
I’ve been greatly inspired by many artists from both dance and photography; Martha Graham, Ohad Naharin, Jose Limon, George Balanchine, William Forsythe, Alvin Ailey, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Peter Hujar, Dana Lixenberg, August Sander, to name a few.
An intriguing aspect of the book is that it seems to have a great musicality, as if the pictures are crossed by a sound, sometimes weak, sometimes loud, that only the protagonists of the photos can hear. What role do silence and sound play in your images?
Luis Alberto Rodriguez: Sound is vital in the work. The title of the book stems from this question: What is the sound of these photos? If there was a sound the people in the book are making, what is that sound? What happens when we stop? How deep can we listen? ‘O’ is an open symbol for sound, continuity, it’s a gasp during a free fall, a collective wail.