Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture – Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world

Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

«Creativity takes courage.» – Henri Matisse

We have always appreciated the word courage. 

Courage comes from the Latin cor habeo, which means “having heart”, “acting with the heart”. 

The courage to believe in one’s dreams is the element that unites the protagonists of this series of interviews which aim to highlight the work and inner universes of creatives from all over the world. 

We begin our journey with Jay Paulo Rodrigues, and you will soon understand why the word courage is even more fitting with him.

Jay is a young photographer and art director of Brazilian origins who grew up in the south of France before moving to Paris. 

His style is “raw, analog, retro and thoughtful”, as he himself says. 

Jay doesn’t like simple things and this emerges from the HEROINES project that he presents on Vanity Teen and which is entirely shot in FP100C films. 

  We met him a few weeks ago and this is what he told us…

Hi Jay! 

According to you, what’s photography? 

Photography is a captured experience and the camera is the ideal tool to do so. Because it stays forever, it feels like knowledge transcended through time, it feels powerful. I’ve always been obsessed by keeping things, keeping memories, and photography came to me as a perfect way to do both. In a way, photography is to collect photographs , so to collect the world, the people in it and all those details. It keeps those moments real, maybe it s a way for me to feel alive.

It’s a tool to express myself, it’s a  freedom of speech & creativity. 

And what’s fashion? 

How do you “talk about” fashion through your camera?

I m thinking about my first experience in fashion, I was a dresser in the backstage of the International Festival of Fashion & Photography of Hyeres, in my early 20s . It was like landing into a new world, the shows, the shapes of clothes, the people, the models, their attitude. I loved this new experience so much that I thought I could be a stylist. Back in Paris, I ended up on a Ellen von Unwerth shooting for Grey magazine as a stylist assistant. Little by little I’ve developed this interest in being well dressed, following the trends. Fashion was helping me to be the person I wanted to be, or gave me this illusion at least .

Overall I think fashion nowadays gives you a perceived value, tells a lot about you in a certain way. 

The way fashion came to my photography was obvious. I always had a taste for it before being a photographer. I love the paradoxal nature of mixing the opposites: luxury and rawness. This gives the illusion that what’s captured on a photo could be accessible to everyone, better understood, that’s my vision. There was a time fashion was perceived as a faraway dream, I think it has become more accessible nowadays for everyone. 

How could you describe your style?

Raw, analog , retro and  thoughtful. 

I don’t like easy things, for example for my series Heroines, I’m shooting  only with FP100C films, which dont exist anymore. The camera BIG Shot polaroid, was produced only for 2 years in the early 1970s and it wasn’t easy to acquire it. I have this thought: if they were able to do it in the past, why can’t I today? 

Do you have your own reference photographer?

In the early 90’s, when I was a child, the 60’s-70s TV shows and movies were still broadcasted on TV. All those “western spaghetti films” by  Sergio Leone  had a huge impact on my childhood development and imagination. The Persuaders, with Roger Moore & Tony CurtisMagnumStarsky & Hutch are also still very clear in my memory.

Then as a teenager, I discovered the work of Mark Maggiori, the multi task artist ( singer, musician, photographer, videographer, painter , writer ) and I was astonished by all of it. 

In my early 20’s, when I came to Paris, I got interested in painters like RenoirDegasModigliani and Hopper

Later on, when I started developing interest in photography, I naturally educated myself on the work of both photography masters & contemporaries. Still today, some names resonate as references to me, people like Sarah MoonLarry ClarkJuergen TellerSteven MeiselBruce Weber and Charlotte Turbeville. Maybe one thing they had in common was the use of analog cameras. That’s probably the reason why I started taking photos with analog cameras & still do it as much as I can. 

Also in my late 20s, I dedicated time to film research and the work of directors like TarkovskiBressonMichelangelo Antonioni and Bergman are still shaping my taste & creativity today.

What’s your background?

I come from São Paulo, Brazil. I was born there but I mostly grew up in France, in the south, close to the sea. My family had no interest in art whatsoever. No photographs at all on the walls. So I became curious about images in general to fill the lack of it. 

I was a very good student and I moved to Paris to study literature at la Sorbonne, and at the same time Paris was offering me everything I ever wanted in terms of knowledge and Art, with all the museums & exhibitions. 

After my graduation, I moved to Berlin for two years , and I had such an amazing experience of life there. The people, the music, the history, the culture… The city is so rich and has so much to offer. 

Eventually I came back to Paris, took some shitty jobs & kinda started to think about being creative myself & live off of it. 

Little by little I started to do some tests for model agencies, then started shooting for brands, editorials and commercials.

Also I took the time to write a book & get published in 2019. The novel is called Derrière mon visage

When you are creative, being a photographer or a writer, you have something to tell, and I think all these mediums only serve their purpose when they tell stories. So maybe my personal thing is to tell stories.

Let’s talk about the series you’re presenting on Vanity Teen Digital, HEROINES. 

This project looks back at the 1970s, the time when women started gaining control of their personhood one step at a time, including the ways they look, dress and express their individuality. 

Tell us all about…

Indeed, Heroines is inspired by the 1970s, the decade when everything changed for women. This was an interesting time: the economic downturn pushed more women into the work force and by the end of the 1970s, for the first time ever, more than half of female population had jobs. With the newly acquired economic power, they finally gained the freedom to be something beyond someone’s wife or someone’s mother. They started asking questions like «What do I want and need? », «What’s my story?», «What’s important to me?» In 1970s a woman became an activist, a fighter, an artist and an individual. 

This was also the time when women started fighting against the issues that affected them as women, and got involved in the civil rights movement. All these event shaped the complex nature of womanhood in the 1970s. 

I like to think of Heroines as a series of portraits, each depicting a woman from that revolutionary era, either real or imagined, but each with a life and a rich, complex and beautiful story behind. 

Do you have any favorite shot from the series?

Not really. I love them all. I think every portrait, every woman of the series deserves equal attention. They are all very different due to their ethnicities, their culture, and the character I asked them to convey. The idea of the series is to portrait the beauty & the differences of them all at once. So yeah no preferences. 

«Photography is more than a medium for factual communication of ideas. It is a creative art », Ansel Adams said one day.

Is photography a form of contemporary art? How can you contextualize it in 2024?

Ansel Adams also said « a photograph is not an accident-it’s a concept», and I kinda agree with that. To take a good photograph , you must really see it. The image must exist in your mind at or before the moment. So yeah its a the form of creative art. 

There are so many different types of photographers & photography nowadays, I’ m still discovering one every week . So yeah, there are many contemporary artists in this world. 

In 2024 and for severals years now, photography became a very accessible tool, you can shoot  with analog, with digital, even with your Iphone and  be an artist, apparently. 

This  easy accessibility has created a mass of creative people and social media kinda contributed to giving a wrong idea of “success” to those people. Those are blurry times for younger generations I would say.

I’ve never like the idea of saying «I m an artist»  about myself  or put a statement on something contemporary and say «this is Art». 

Let’s see what will become of it in 50 years, in one century, the next generations will judge what is Art, let see what will endure through time. 

A letter to your future self.

Whatever you’re doing right now, stop. Go outside, have a walk. 

Call your parents – if you’re lucky enough that they’re both still here. Life is too short. 

This year has been a crazy one, the world is changing. I hope you have find a safe place to live. 

Cherish your kids , tell them how much you love them. 

Never stop learning new things. Share your knowledge. 

Whatever you do , stay with open arms and open  eyes. 

Keep going taking photographs of everything and telling stories. 

Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Western Spaghetti films, 70s & Pop Culture - Jay Paulo Rodrigues’ world Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

TEAM CREDITS:

Photography, artistic direction & styling: @jay_paulo_rodrigues (JAY PAULO RODRIGUES)

Make up artist: @alexiamzallag (ALEXIA AMZALLAG)

Hairstylist: @maxime_guicheteau (MAXIME GUICHETEAU)

Models: Clara, Julia, Komomo, Evelina, Nikki, Vahiné 

Clothes by @theparisianvintage (THE PARISIAN VINTAGE)

Portrait of Jay Paulo Rodrigues shot by @jordanlarz (JORDAN LARZ)

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