I read a quote once from American photographer Ansel Adams that said, “Some photographers take reality and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation.”
Mississippi photographer Chauncey Mangum is no stranger when it comes to picking up a camera. He knows exactly how to capture the image he wants. He has a keen eye and displays great sense of direction when it comes to photography.
One can learn quite a bit from him.
Fioreme writer Jarquita Brown met Chauncey about four years ago on Mississippi State University’s campus. He was, in her opinion, one of the best photographers she had come across.
His photography style is like no other, and he continues to grow in his craft every day.
After a few years without speaking or seeing one another, Chauncey and Jarquita finally caught up.
She had the opportunity to ask him about his experience now as a photographer and how he has evolved since they’ve last worked together.
Check out their Q&A below. Fioreme readers will most definitely be seeing more of his art featured on the site.
Jar: What has your experience been like as a photographer? How do you go about finding work?
Chauncey: I love it. It wasn’t easy at first because once you start anything, you expect to be great at the beginning, and that’s never how it is. Trust your process and stay focused. As for me finding work, I don’t go looking. I’ll shoot the things that inspire me and from that, clients call.
JB: Do you remember your first time shooting? How did it go?
CM: My first shoot was a wreck. (Laughs). I had no idea what I was doing. I was taking pictures, but had no idea what I was aiming for at the end goal.
JB: How would you describe your style as a photographer now?
CM: Aesthetic. I aim to shoot things as I see it.
JB: What camera do you shoot with and why?
CM: My main camera I shoot with is the Canon 5D Mark III. It’s a great full frame to have and shoot with.
JB: What are some things you are doing differently now from when you first started photography?
CM: As far as me doing something differently, I can say pretty much everything. From how I approach the shoot to me actually shooting and even editing. I changed the way I did things because I was following the steps of others and my work looked way too similar to theirs.
JB: To me photography is an art that conveys a certain emotion or moment that’s unforgettable. What is your favorite type of photography, and what are some ways you capture the type of emotion you want out of your subject?
CM: Fashion and portrait photography and wedding photography. The best thing I do to capture the images I’m looking for is to let the model be completely themselves. It’s okay to guide them from time to time, but once they let down their barrier, it makes working with them a lot easier.
Chauncey’s Three Tips That Makes For A Great Photo:
- Have some type of vision in mind.
- Editing is better when you are inspired to do so.
- If you understand your camera, it makes editing a lot easier to do. In other words, learn your settings.
JB: How do you go about marketing yourself and networking?
CM: Social media is the biggest thing going for any artist that’s trying to push their work, but other than that, word of mouth is still a powerful method also.
JB: What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?
CM: Shoot because you love it and not for money. The moment you do it, it will start feeling like a job and that’s not what you would want. Have patience. The growth you are looking for will come in time. Don’t compare yourself. That’s the easiest way to lose who you are in photography. It’s okay to look for inspiration, but you have to realize you are setting your own path.
JB: Last question, if you could be any animal in the world, what animal would you be and why?
CM: I’ll have to say an eagle; to be able to fly and not worry about any gas would be pretty amazing.