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10-year-old photographer develops skill, starts business


Aug. 25, 2010 at 3:25 a.m.

Photographer Elias Rodriguez, 10, always has his camera at the ready. Some of his photographs are on display at Hastings in Victoria.

Photographer Elias Rodriguez, 10, always has his camera at the ready. Some of his photographs are on display at Hastings in Victoria.

Elias Rodriguez is your typical 10-year-old boy. Shy at first, he'll fidget nervously while sitting on the couch. If you ask him a question, he'll glance over at his mom first for reassurance.

Slowly he'll grow more comfortable and become more animated, letting his personality peek through. Eventually small quirks will burst through, like the way he begins and ends many of his sentences with the phrase "to tell you the truth."

Then, with his brown eyes flashing, he'll show you his pride and joy: His camera. And suddenly, he's not just your typical 10-year-old boy.

"My mom bought this camera for herself and said I could use it any time I liked. That's how it started off, to tell you the truth," he said, rattling off the Nikon P100 specs like a pro. "I just thought I'd take photos for fun but I ended up with a business."

Despite his age, Elias' budding photography skills have caught the eye of several people in Victoria, so much so that he's even had business cards made up for his burgeoning career, which he named Monito Loco Creations.

From car shows to album covers for local bands to photos for area business web sites, Elias is setting out to prove that age doesn't matter through the lens of a camera.

"It started about a year and a half ago. I bought a camera when my grandbaby was born and when Elias would say he was bored, I told him to grab the camera, go outside and take photos," his mother, Viola Rodriguez, said. "Right away, people were saying what a good eye he had and it grew from there. He's even been asked to take photos of weddings and quinceaneras, but he's more into the art aspect than posed photos. He likes to take candid photos."

Elias, who is homeschooled, has made so much money off selling his photographs that this year he needs to get a tax ID, she added. But neither Elias nor his parents are doing this for the money.

"From my perspective, since my husband and I homeschool him, this is a great education. He's learning business, art, communication and doing it in a way he couldn't in a classroom. He's learning all the time from this, even just by sitting down and reading the camera manual." Rodriguez said. "From another standpoint, it's also helping him to socialize with all different kinds of people."

Although the photography part comes naturally to him, Elias admitted his biggest problem with his new-found hobby is getting over his shyness and asking people for permission to take their photo or a photo of something that belongs to them. But as long as it remains fun, he plans to do it, he said.

"I just pick up a camera and have fun, to tell you the truth. It gives me joy and takes me places, like Goliad and Corpus Christi," he added. "Some of my favorite photos are when I mess up and it turns out good."

When asked whether or not he wants to be professional photographer when he grows up, that's when Elias the photographer turns back into Elias, the 10-year-old boy.

"I don't think so. What I really want to be is a Monster Truck driver!"



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