At just 22 years of age, Rodrigo “Gogy” Esparza is a contemporary, and thus idiosyncratic, triple threat: photographer, designer, barber. He ‘s launching his first self-published book of photographs, called Lighttime, because, “I feel like it is time for light to be shed on certain things.” On May 20, he’s opening a new barbershop in the East Village on 10th Street and Avenue B, incidentally called the Blind Barbershop—again, themes of light appropriate for a young photographer. All of which makes it hard to find time for this Massachusetts native and current resident of Washington Heights, New York, to actually shoot a picture or provide a clip.
WHAT IS THE FIRST PHOTOGRAPH YOU REMEMBER TAKING? It was all the screen shots of porno trailers. I was five years old, and we had a spice channel that just played trailers to the movies. I grabbed a camera and snapped away. My parents were obviously surprised when the film was developed. DO YOU PREFER PHOTOGRAPHING PEOPLE YOU KNOW? When you’re behind the lens the situation is always different. The film Blow-Up is all about the sexual tension possible on set—Almodovar, Fellini, they all talk about it. When I’m shooting, I’m in a trance. It’s really pure and doesn’t discriminate. WHAT WAS IT LIKE PUTTING TOGETHER A BOOK FOR THE FIRST TIME? A lot of emotion, heart, but then maybe even more cold-bloodedness. It was a lot of editing. DO YOU HAVE A SIGNATURE HAIRCUT? I mean, I’d like to think I’m pretty well rounded, not a one trick pony. But I actively endorse the “skin-fade.” It’s a good look. HAS ANYONE EVER GOTTEN MAD AT YOU OVER A HAIRCUT? I’ve never had anyone walk out of my chair mid-haircut. They just leave me a really bad tip.