Fernando Rodríguez Martínez, Game Developer, Software Engineer, and Photographer

What I love the most about photography is that when you start to do it seriously, each photograph tells something about yourself – the things you carry inside you. Minor White, a famous photographer, has a quote that I love: “Each photograph is a self-portrait“. This is a perfect resume of why I love photography. When you see the work of good authors and good photographers, you see how they are inside. Photography is about finding outside what is inside us. When you understand this, your photography changes.

My name is Fernando (Fer) and I just turned 45 years old! I grew up in León, a small and beautiful city in the north of Spain. I work as a game developer and software engineer in video games. I always worked in video games; I started back in 2003, but during my university years, I was involved in the indie game scene as well. Currently, I have been working at King Games, the company of the popular video game Candy Crush, for the last 7 years.

I have lived in three different cities in Spain: Oviedo, Madrid, and Barcelona. León is a small city – when I started to work, the internet was in its early stages for common users (when I started professionally, we worked on making the video games stored on CDs and DVDs). So the usual thing was to move to big cities like Madrid and Barcelona.

In Madrid, I worked at a very important Spanish game company called Pyro Studios, but then I had to move to Barcelona. The reason for this move was because I left the video game industry for two years to create, with another colleague, a start-up photography business (called Wemories). After that closed, I had to return to video games. One friend told me about King Games, so I tried my best to enter there and got it! I then moved to Barcelona in Spain, where King Games is based.

Photography is my main activity outside of my job, which I enjoy in my free time with my two kids (13 and 11 years old) during the weeks that I’m with them. I first became interested in photography back in 2008, when my first son was born, so we had to take photographs “seriously”. In the past, I used some cameras, but only from time to time. After I learned to properly use a more advanced camera, I was fascinated by the things you could create with it, so learning was amazing for me. Each day, I was more and more interested in trying new things.

My type of photography is more oniric or poetic – I’m constantly learning about new photographers to get inspiration. One of my favorites is David Jimenez, a Spanish photographer, but I like also Bill Brant (a classic), Ralph Gibson, Minor White, Alec Soth, Allan Schaller (a very good and famous black-and-white photographer on Instagram), Vivian Meier, Yamamoto Masao, and Fan-Ho. I have tons of favorite photographers, some of them discovered in the present day.

My type of photography is somewhat poetic. I want to generate a “sensation” when you see my photos. I think that around us, there are plenty of common-day moments that are so beautiful on their own; I tend to photograph them. I also like to photograph people in a minimalistic style. Other common subjects of my work are birds, other animals, and clouds.

Nowadays, I use a Leica Monochrome 246 with only one objective, a fixed 50mm. I also have two other cameras: a Fujifilm XPro2 (with a 35mm, 50mm, and 90mm) and a Fujifilm X100F (35mm). I only use fixed lenses.

Also, I only work in black-and-white. This is a decision I took because my work tends to be poetic, and black-and-white works perfectly in that direction. You can see my work on Instagram here (https://www.instagram.com/frodrig/) and on my personal web here (https://www.fernandorodriguez.photography).

One of my favourite photographs is a really minimal and simple one that I took in 2009, with an old camera that I don’t have right now. In fact, I have a big print of that photo above my computer monitor at home. I don’t think it’s my best photo, but is the one that I like the most. It is a leaf that is blown away by the wind from a tree full of leaves. It was in autumn, in a beautiful park in Madrid called El Capricho.

I’m currently about to launch my first auto-edited photobook! It will be only printed in an edition of 100 copies, but the idea is to gain some visibility with it. It has photographs from the last 12 years and is called “Hidden Reality” (https://www.fernandorodriguez.photography/hidden-reality-coming-soon).

The idea of the book is based around a Freud concept called “unheimlich”. The story behind this originated when I got a report about my photography four years ago from an expert –  in that report, she told me that all of my photos had some kind of “touch of terror”, so I started to review my files again and … yes! I saw that sensation in a lot of them, so I started to work in that direction (the photos of the book are not on my Instagram or personal web page).

The book is nearing the end of production. This was done with the help of one of the best studios in Spain, thanks to the contacts that I made when I created my start-up around photography back in 2010. I’m very happy doing this photobook. My idea is to have the chance to do exhibitions, sell prints, and create more books in the future.

I see a few similarities between photography and my current occupation. Photography always gives you a special eye to see harmony and aesthetic around you, but also organization. Photography is about creating order in the chaos you have in front of you. Working as a programmer, a lot of the stuff you have to do has to be related to put order to the chaos and have a special feeling around an aesthetic.

I definitely think photography has been a benefit to my technological career, and vice versa. In the end, all points are connected in a way or another. Perhaps I get more benefits for the photography because I work as a game programmer, and I saw a lot of creative stuff in my career. Sometimes, I can see a scene that reminds me of something I saw, such as in a video game cover, in a film, or inside a video game. So my mind recognizes that, perhaps, there is something that could be beautiful in a situation in front of me.

My advice to anyone interested in photography is that you first have to take a lot of photographs. Try to have zoom lenses that could change the focal length so that you can test different types of objectives in one of them. Take photos of anything you like. Over time, you will start to see what you like more. Then, start to investigate authors who do the kind of photos you like. Keep viewing good photographs to get inspiration. Read a lot, watch films, listen to good music, and, if possible, carry the camera with you always. Your favourite photograph is just around the corner! You don’t have to travel thousands of kilometres to find it.

There is always more than tech. I think that is very important to see what attracts other people who have the same interest in technology. I think that as humans, we don’t belong to only a single interest. There is an infinite number of things that are amazing to learn out there, which can also be connected with technology. Knowing about them is cool and could bring you the spark for new and interesting ideas inside or outside of your daily job.

Fernando’s Website: https://www.fernandorodriguez.photography/

Fernando’s Instagram Page: https://www.instagram.com/frodrig/

Fernando’s Flickr Page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/frodrig

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