Warm Welcome for Rod Rolle Exhibition
By Bonnie Carroll
It was an evening of local pride to view Rod Rolle’s documentary photography project highlighting the city of Guadalupe, Spirit of a Community, on October 15 during a reception at the County Engineering Building Garden Atrium, 123 E. Anapamu Street in Santa Barbara.
Rolle created the works during his tenure as the documentary photographer for artist Judy Baca’s Guadalupe Mural Project, commissioned by Santa Barbara County Arts commission in 1988-89 to develop the expansive project. “The Big Picture,” a town portrait Rolle created as part of the project, was ultimately displayed at the Smithsonian Museum: Experimental Gallery. According to Rolle, “Guadalupe is an undiscovered gem in Santa Barbara County.”
Rod Rolle, Guadalupe Documentary Photographer
The exhibition opening was attended by a bevy of local officials who included Mayor Murillo, County Supervisors Gregg Hart, Joan Hartman, Steve Lavagnino, countless friends and family members, along with long-time photographer friends of Rod Rolle. 1st District County Supervisor Das Williams and his little daughters enjoyed the great Ethiopian dinner provided by Embermill Restaurant on State Street, as did everyone else. “It was a who’s who of people who admire Rod Rolle” said Mayor Cathy Murillo, who presented him with a beautiful bouquet to celebrate his opening.
Rod moved to Santa Barbara to attend Brooks Institute of Photography and study photojournalism in 1982 and has distinguished himself in both fields. He joined a group of fellow photographers with documenting their Black communities and they created several exhibitions, partnering with Shirley Kennedy, to produce their first Martin Luther King Jr. exhibition, a Tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. held at the Santa Barbara Eastside Library in 1985.
Rolle's images have been published in 250 media outlets in36 countries. As a stringer for Gamma Liaison Pictures Agency, Getty Images and Sipa USA he has covered significant media events from the LA riots in 1992 to his award-winning photo of Michael Jackson standing atop an SUV in Santa Maria which won him a spot in Getty Images’ “Picture of the Year” Collection. As an accomplished performing artist, working as a drummer and vocalist he has played with many Santa Barbara bands over the years and his own Stiff Pickle Orchestra. Rod was selected to represent Santa Barbara in Memphis, Tennessee for the International Blues Challenge. To view a collection of his photos or learn more please visit www.rodrolle.photoshelter.com.
Congratulations to our talented community member and thank you to the Division of Community Services Department, which acts as the umbrella for arts and culture projects and programs with Santa Barbara County, and Santa Barbara County Office of Arts & Culture for the Guadalupe Mural Project, painter-muralist Judith F. Baca, and the photographic exhibition now available for viewing by Rod Rolle.
For additional information visit https://www.sbac.ca.gov/