“Capturing a moment and printing it on paper has always been magical to me. When I switched from film to digital I strived to find a paper that would match my darkroom experience. Hahnemühle Digital FineArt papers bring my photos to life with incredible depth and sharpness … ” stated celebrity photographer Mark Mann who mainly shoots US actors. He has cooperated with Leica and Hahnemühle for many years now, a cooperation that makes us proud, and has resulted in a Q&A we would like to share.
That’s a big question. I’ve loved creating ever since I can remember, whether it was Lego® models or clay sculptures, drawing or painting. However, the idea of making a living from art didn’t really take shape until I met a girl on a train. She was 17-years-old and I was a love struck 15 year-old. She told me she was going to photo school in Manchester, which sounded like a good idea to me, so I asked my high school art teacher if he could teach me photography. Later that week he showed me the darkroom where we made some Man Ray-type images with objects on top of photo paper and I was completely sold. There was “magic” happening before my eyes.
A camera came next and I built up a good enough body of work to attend photo school in Manchester. Although there was no romance, the girl and I did become friends.
How did you come to the world of “celebrity” photography?
Celebrity portraits are just portraits with famous people. I’ve always been most passionate about photographing people so I suppose that celebrities are just who I was hired to shoot.
In the art world my personal work is probably the most viable, the professional market is a constantly revolving door; you are in one day out the next. I try very hard not to play into trends and stay focused on what I do best.
Who inspires you most?
In life, my family. Photographically, there are so many inspirations, Eugene Atget is my all-time favorite photographer, Horst P. Horst and of course Irving Penn. To be honest anybody that makes a living taking photos is an inspiration.
I’m a portrait photographer, I try to take an honest photograph of my subject. Style? I’m not sure, I would like to think classic but to be honest I often don’t preconceive much. Surroundings, mood and even the music that I’m currently listening to can play a role in how I shoot on any particular day.
EGOS! And not necessarily the talent. Publicists, although often just doing their job, can be difficult to please, the more people in the room the more egos, the more egos the harder the day. That’s why I’m most comfortable with less people, I’ve found when in a rare situation if I’m left alone with a subject I can get the best results.
What importance do you place on the printed presentation of your artwork?
I would like to think of myself as somewhat of an individual, showing up at a client meeting with the same iPad as everyone else is unthinkable. Therefore I take every opportunity to present my work in its best possible light and for me that’s actual pictures not a 9” screen. Hahnemühle inkjet paper elevates my work to the highest level.
I love Hahnemühle FineArt Baryta paper, it makes my photographs look as they should. There’s a lovely subtle texture and weight to the paper that always gets a positive reaction from art buyers or clients. When I started to work digitally one of the things that frustrated me was never quite being able to get a C-print quality from my inkjet. That changed when I started to print on Hahnemühle.
Do you have a dream project you would like to realize sometime?
What’s next for you…what projects are coming up?
I’m on my way home to Scotland to photograph Alan Cumming for CBS.
Click over for more: www.markmannphoto.com