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In 2014, MANNY decided to make his dreams come true: become a professional photographer. He quickly understood that being a part of the social media game is crucial to obtain adequate exposure as a freelancer. His work is inspired by the Montreal based talents that surround him. MANNY is our content creator for the month of October.
Manny first got to learn how to maneuver a camera hands on when travelling in Europe, during 3 months long school break, . Once he got back, he couldn't deny any longer that photography was his true passion, but also that his new vocation was to succeed in this domain.
« I think it just hit me. I wanted to try and I was determined. Passion isn't something that's taught.
He then put aside his dreams for a year in order to save up enough money to buy quality material, to finally dive in head first into a world that was practically unknown to him.
Manny has a background in videography, but it's photography that won his heart over.
« What I find interesting with photography is that I don't necessarily need a scenario or actors. The actor can be life itself; a street, or even a building.
Things come to him naturally. It is the people that he meets that inspire him. These encounters, mixed with trial & error, are what is work is made of. His work is the result of trial and error as well as encounters he has made with others.
« Working on collaborations lets me have access to other photographers' work as well as their process. I will give away some of my techniques and take some of his (or hers). I guess you could say I glean on their work. The true challenge is to remain true to yourself no matter what the contract is.
His goal is to document his experiences, no matter how absurd they might get.
Manny does not restrain himself to one style in particular. He doesn't want to be categorized simply as a wedding photographer or one for the nightlife. "I'm a project guy", he tells us. It's actually his hunger for discovery and storytelling that led him to accept a 3 month contract to the South of France for one of his friend's family member, whose family was reunited again after being dispersed across the continent following an explosion in Brazzaville in 1990.
Manny is no prude and is always ready to say yes to projects that attract his curiosity, as you can judge by some of his work for a friend of his, who celebrated his anniversary with escorts in a hotel.
« At the end of the day, I realize that they were merely two people who weren't doing anyone harm and who live their love in their own special way. My job was to capture that moment. That's what was special and why it was such a unique experience.
His documentary-like approach is transparent through most of his work.
« I love to document things. I like to take on projects that let me meet people who exude good energy and with whom I feel I can grow as a person.
It took a while before Manny got started on Instagram. His goal was mostly to have a constant presence and he wasn’t so much focused on the number of followers he would accumulate.
« When I saw that I had hit 3K this year, it was like a small victory for me. It happened because of the organic effort I put into it.
The only strategy he applies to his social media is to create different content for his Instagram and Facebook accounts. For example, you will notice that on his Instagram account there are no faces or humans to be seen as he is mainly focusing on lighting, patterns, symmetrical lines, landscapes, etc.
« Having certain constraints within a project lets me be creative and find solutions that push the concept as well as myself further.
If you keep digging in on the differences between the 2 platforms, you’ll realize that , his captions are much more important on Facebook than on Instagram. He admits to feeling closer to his Facebook followers, which justifies his decision to use a more direct approach on Facebook, creating a "real-talk" vibe. On Instagram, you immediately feel the content is is more about the image, superficial.
« My concept on Instagram has led me to having inspiring captions, which has led me to being slightly more detached. Instagram is definitely less my game, so I decide to play it my way.
« The democratization of art is great because it lets people who haven't necessarily studied or that have had a tougher life, get recognition through their work because they are good at what they do and have a passion.
He believes that without this form of democratization, he probably never could have practiced this art. Furthermore, without social media, he could never have lived off photography.
« I believe that people who are afraid or that don't like the democratization of photography are people who are unable to reinvent themselves.
Manny depicts truth in his photos; it is inspiring and touching.