"She appears from behind metal and wood structures. An avid yogi, runner, and cyclist, Iris cuts a dashing figure and towers over the gardens with her Nordic height," exclaims Robert Andrew Rodriguez, a San Francisco photographer.
"Her strawberry-blonde hair and piercing blue eyes hold my attention almost as well as her impossibly big smile. 'Welcome to PLACE!', she says, as she rolls the main gate over and leads me into the garden labyrinth of the community courtyard."
Here lies the introduction to Bay by the City, an intriguing series by Rodriguez that documents a recent visit to an Oakland eco-village and profiling a woman named Iris, a gig economy worker who lives in a tiny home amongst the community.
"We follow a wood chip mulch footpath past several under-construction tiny homes into her quaint camper-trailer. Looking around the mermaid green interior she shows me her couches, kitchen, closet, pantry, bed, windows, and coffee table with a mason jar of fresh-cut pink flowers. We sip rich homemade hot cocoa with mushroom powder that I am assured is not psychedelic. 'I’ve lived here about a year and a half'.
"There are many residents of PLACE, so many that we see some passing by in their morning routine of dog walking and coffee drinking. Everyone has similar smiles and waves. 'This place has been fixed up as a haven for sustainable living. The neighbours are artists, musicians, students, teachers'."
Rodriguez initially forged his capture and design skills "in the kiln of commercial fashion and product production" in Dallas, TX, before working with agencies like The Richards Group, RBMM, and Publicis. Today, he also enjoys his own personal projects, more of which you can discover at robertandrewrodriguez.com.
Excerpt from Green Garden, Walking through an Oakland eco-village with Iris, from the series, Bay by the City © 2017 Robert Andrew Rodriguez, all rights reserved