RODNEY RASCONA: AN OVERVIEW
As a Photographer and Director, Rodney Rascona creates iconic photographs for the international advertising community, and frequently utilizes his skills as an award-winning advertising photographer to help raise revenue and awareness for relief and development organizations around the globe. Rascona’s most compelling work has been in support of international relief and development organizations implementing life-sustaining programs throughout the developing world.
His true identity and maturity as an image-maker is evident in his ability to create poignant yet powerful portraits. Despite capturing people in circumstances of extreme poverty, loss or hardship, these signature photographs have an extraordinary depth and richness. More importantly, Rascona’s photography is characterized by a deep respect and empathy for his subjects who respond with a level of trust, enabling an intimate window to their lives. This is evident in both his still portraits from across the country as well as his incorporation of this compassionate style into documentary works.
Rascona finds that his portrait work continues to evolve and challenges him to seek creative partnerships where his images are utilized for the very purpose they were created – to raise awareness and to enable his subjects voices to be heard. In the field, every conceivable human emotion plays out. A veteran of countless projects across all continents, in all hemispheres, he is committed to using the experience gained from 16 years of reportage covering famine, AIDS/HIV, malaria, food security issues, drought and education, from the arid lands of Northern Kenya to the lush, forest carpeted Congo to play his part in easing the human condition.
Rascona’s career highlights include acting as Chief Photographer for Food for the Hungry (FH) a major non-governmental organization (NGO) for 15 years, Director of Photography and Senior Correspondent for The Paradigm Project, being a founder of HEART, a medical program that enables children in the developing world to have life-saving heart operations, running parallel to a three decade long advertising career.
Projects include assignments covering the 2004 tsunami in India and Indonesia, the exodus of refugees from Somalia into Dedaab Kenya to the earthquake in Haiti. "The Pink Door Photographs", an acclaimed 40-image portrait image set of survivors of the earthquake, created for multiple relief organizations to present a message of hope when there was so little to be found amongst the damage in Jacmel, Haiti. The collection of images was built for use in exhibition, currently scheduled to be shown in London 2014, to generate funds and raise continued awareness for the earthquake-shattered Haitian community.
Rascona continues to produce leading work for the advertising and design community as well, leveraging the collective skills of his experienced team to create award-winning location photography for an international roster of clients. Of late, New York Oct 2013, Rodney's photography was invited to support the UNF-GACC's recognition of former US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, for her work supporting the initiative. Fine art photographs were created exclusively for Mrs. Clinton from Rascona's private collection.
Rodney has been recognized by The LUCIE Foundation and the International Photography Awards (IPA), for his portrait work in post earthquake Haiti - creating The Pink Door Photographs to help raise awareness. He is the winner of The LUCIE 2010 Photographer of the Year:Deeper Perspective…from 15,000 submissions from 103 countries Rodney’s work has been recognized to be one of the most important bodies of work created in 2010 – awarded for the 2011 year.
At the core of his work, be it stills or motion, Rodney Rascona creates images of consequence, creating images that speak to our heart. He believes in his subjects, engages them and brings part of their soul to the viewer regardless if the project is concerning children and families at risk who are struggling to survive in the developing world or the executive responsibilities required in producing and directing a production for major clients. It’s his unusual breadth of life experiences coupled with compassion that lends his subjects a clear and powerful voice within his portrait work..
In February of 2012, Rodney was awarded a commission by the United Nations Foundation-GACC as Film Director, to create a series of 3 short films dealing with the global health issues surrounding women cooking over an open wood fire, which leads to the needless deaths of over 4 million women and children worldwide. Latin America’s Peruvian Highlands, the arid lands of drought affected Northern Kenya in East Africa to the Indian Sub Continent along the Nepalese border with India, these locations provided the backdrop to the creation of intimate, cinematic stories of women who while leading culturally different lives, share a similar experience enduring the effects of breathing the toxic mix of gasses from burning wood to prepare food. The results of these films, along with the former Secretary of State for the United States, Hillary Rodham Clinton and spokesperson, Actress Julia Roberts, will be utilized in raising awareness and to help reduce the numbers of women and children losing their lives with the sincere message that “Cooking Shouldn’t Kill”.
Following this important assignment from the UNF-GACC, Rodney in September 2012 took on a project in the Horn of Africa/East Africa, specifically in Kenya for Food for the Hungry (FH), to cover the issues within the arid lands region and the IDP camps located along the Kenya/Somali border in Dadaab, and the green famine in Ethiopia utilizing his instinctual approach to image creation for the greater good.
Rodney recognizes that strategic photography and poignant film, when created by serious professionals, entrusted to make a sincerely heart felt, compassionate and empathy filled investment of their skills, can give life to tired messages. When used effectively, Rodney’s photography and films have the ability to raise awareness, to speak to a global community in helping to raise funds, empathy and compassion, which can mean the success or failure of initiatives and programs designed to help ease the lives of the vulnerable within the developing world.
Rodney has been given the opportunity to be a conduit for those who at times have no voice, and some would say it is in these remote hard places of this world where he has produced his best work. Dedicated to the creation of photographs and film which aren’t disposable, his insight and humanity honed in the creation of dignified portraits from around the globe…enables him to produce iconic, “signature portraits” as a strategic partner with creative teams worldwide to help bring their ideas and their vision to life.
While a Director behind camera in the creation of poignant photography throughout a successful career, Black Inside Three Women's Voices represents Rodney’s debut/ premiere as a Director in the creation of film with a serious message.
Black Inside is a triptych combining three short documentary's to include Sarah's Story from Africa, Vandana from India and Monica from Peru. His career experience enables him to leverage a unique blend of skills, which as Director, helps to create his scenes as rich tapestries that build upon one another. Augmented by his expert ability to create strong compositions, within his Directorial skills, Rascona’s cinematography presents a graphically strong sense of colour, and a command of natural light – all complemented by a team of international film professionals to bring his vision to life.
Most importantly, it’s Rascona’s instinctual ability to present his subjects with dignity - beyond creative and technical disciplines, utilizing his human skills in portraying stories which predominately deal with intimate issues where trust, integrity and the ability to listen…makes all the difference.
NOTE1: Rodney last season returned from Deauville where he received recognition at the Deauville Green Awards presented with recognition – Grand Prix Best Corporate Film…for Black Inside-Three Women’s Voices. Rascona is currently in pre-production on a feature documentary “BLACK INSIDE” along with a drama “When Sparrows Fall” to be produced along the windswept coastline of the Western Isles.
NOTE2: Current assignments at end of year saw RASCONA producing motion work in Kalemie CONGO to raise awareness to the challenges and successes of the USAID/FHCongo partnership providingdevelopment, agriculture and gender based violence education for some 800,000 villagers in Katanga province DRC. Back to back assignments brought Rascona to Manila to join the relief efforts of FH Philippines, creating testimonials and photography to help the victims of typhoon Haiyan.
NOTE3: Rascona directed, shot and produced his latest short film, "Democratique Republique Du Congo"which just rolled out of post production with some of London's best cinematic creatives lending their disciplines to help raise awareness to serious challenges within the DRC. -