Sándor Rodríguez Castro “Everything I’ve done in life has been to have fun
BY ROXANA CONSUEGRA, PHOTOS: COURTESY OF THE ARTIST
For Sándor Rodríguez Castro, a young man who has been in the world of photography for some years, taking up this profession has been a motivating, nourishing and spontaneous experience. As soon as the interview with CubaPLUS Magazine began, he said: “Everything I’ve done in my life, including photography, has been to have fun”.
Precisely because he liked to enjoy everything he could, he decided to opt to study for a degree in English Language and Literature, firstly because one of his roles, as an academic, makes him especially happy. When Sándor is asked what it is, with a special glint in his eyes he replies: “I am a teacher”.
Perhaps because of this eagerness to show and share his knowledge with others, life led him to work, around 2014, as a tour guide. He still works at the San Cristóbal Travel Agency, which belongs to the Office of the Historian of the City of Havana, dedicated to protecting the heritage of the city.
Rodríguez Castro says that here he learned from the best guide Havana has ever had. This is how he refers to Dr. Eusebio Leal Spengler, who was his teacher, a worthy recipient of the Cuban people’s respect and pride in their capital.
One day, by happy coincidence, he says, he stepped forward to lead a tour with a group from Santa Fe, USA, which promoted cultural exchanges with Cuba for 15 days. The group members, American photographers, received workshops from their Cuban colleagues in a give-and-take process where the artistic participation took prominence.
That’s when Sándor had to figure out how to connect with those visitors who didn’t come for the typical sun and beach tourism, but for cultural tourism. It was the time of “people to people”, a time of closeness between the art and culture of the two shores, of openness and systematic cultural exchanges.
At that time they visited Baracoa, in the east of Cuba. The tour guide had already learned some basic points and techniques of artistic expression, and there, in an unexpected moment, he took his first snapshot. Windless portrays, like a film of social reality in Cuba, the innocence of children in a natural setting, the purity of their dreams and the eagerness with which they look for, in this case, the wind to fly their kites.
Less spontaneous was Papaloteros. On this occasion, he asked the children to pose for the photo, and at once the three of them got behind the wheel. An organic composition, with a diagonal line that gives it careful structure and balance, demonstrates a meticulous style by this exponent of the artistic lens.
Other children catch his attention behind a bus in Street surfing, while a group, like athletes, run in Golden Havana. Two girls in an establishment wait anxiously to be photographed, while another, restless, doesn’t understand what the young man is doing with the camera in hand, if only she knew... it’s the calm of the two dogs that is the main attraction.
Sándor Rodríguez Castro is sometimes casual, other times he waits, patiently, for the right moment. The hug, Cuban cowboy, Siempre hay un ojo que ve and Yo sigo sintiendo lo mismo are the result of the artist waiting to achieve his objective. You can see in his work the allure of color, taking advantage of all the expressive virtues that it gives to a photo, thanks also to their intrinsic meanings and associations.
But what most underlies his work is his desire to show the viewer something that first of all makes him happy. Let’s remember that we are with an artist who above everything else in his life, has had fun.