Manny Mares Interview

I first discovered you from the B9 a few years back. At the time I believe you were living in New Jersey and were traveling around with different bands taking pictures. Tell me a little more about yourself.
Hello! Yeah right now i’m currently living in Arizona..i moved out here a few years ago. Every day I wish I was still in Jersey tho…lived there for about 13 years. Hm to sum it up i’m a photographer out of Mesa that’s into music, working, and cameras.

What’s your current set up,film,lighting etc. that your using to shoot?
Right now I have two set ups. I have my primary camera with is the Mamiya RB67 with a 90mm lens. It’s for sure my go-to

camera, and it’s amazing how much it has forced me to push myself forward. I also use a Canon Elan 7 with a 50mm lens. That
camera comes very handy for live music and more fast paced photo shoots I do. I also use a Sekonic 358 light meter. I try to only shoot
Provia 100F and Pan F50 for my shoots. Everyone tells me to try Portra 400 but i haven’t caught on yet haha.

What are some common criticism misconceptions that you have received about your work?
Eh just the typical shit you would hear about dudes photographing models. I always get shit on how i get to photograph some of these bands as well aha. I have been doing this for years so i’m used to it by now. People will always hate for sure.

I believe you work at a 711 or Circle K, is photography something you want to pursue as a full time job?
Props for mentioning Circle k! Yeah I have been there for a few months now after being unemployed for a while. It literally came out of nowhere..Never would I thought i would be working there haha. I definitely think too much about what I want to do when I’m working a graveyard shift. I think doing this full time would be dope but it’s literally going to take hard work for it to happen. I also don’t want to sacrifice doing what I enjoy in order to make money. I would still want my personal input into the photos. That would be perfect!

Over the past months i’ve noticed a transition of your work from shooting bands live and off stage to capturing portraits with models and friends can you tell me about the progression of your photos?
Yeah, absolutely. I have literally been taking photos of musicians for a few years now so i needed something new. It’s not that i’m tired of it, but I have been doing this for a while. I started out by taking photos of punk/hardcore bands , ended up going out on tour, and felt that I needed something new here in Arizona while i wasn’t doing photos of bands. Modeling has been great. I love that it’s fresh to me and it’s exactly what I loved about music photography. I’m on my 15th model I think, and i’m still excited about it haha. It started out with my friend Alanah and me going out to this warehouse with a bunch of film haha. Ever since that I have done a lot more and people seem to like it. I’m sure eventually i’ll stop and do something completely different. Just don’t want to get bored of the same things..

Over the past few months I have done photos of Title Fight, Four Year Strong, The Story So Far, Aficionado, and Make Do And Mend and that seems good to me tho. I’m at that point where if a friend’s band comes through here then we’ll meet up and do some photos. It’s relaxing to me..I would still like to travel but I’m not putting 1,000 miles into my car anymore in a week haha,

I remember seeing you at Sound and Fury 2009 off the top of your head any notable shows/fests thats you’ve shot at? 
Yeah yeah that year was cool. That was my 3rd one i think. The first year of me going was cool since I got to meet a lot of people that would eventually help me a lot through out the few next years. Robby Redcheeks was out there doing a book at that time…I hadn’t even met Todd Pollock yet! haha. It’s funny how things change. in 2009 I was more comfortable for sure..I took a lot of photos that year. I missed the first year of S&F but the second year I made up my mind and flew alone. Bob Shedd actually got me a photo pass. That was a whole different world to me then…I had never gotten a “pass” to shoot anything before that. They were real strict about cameras so i was thankful for that. I was literally out there by myself…I knew 10 people but seemed to do just fine now that I look back.

One of my best experiences have been doing photos for either This Is Hardcore/Black N Blue. Loved how professional both run the shows/festivals. Being able to shoot the Superbowl Of Hardcore was an experience i’ll never forget. They truly made me feel welcome in an environment that I didn’t know anyone. Same goes for This Is Hardcore. I haven’t been out there in 3 years but I’m hoping to either go this year or the next for sure.

How did the Title Fight concept fall in place?
It started right after I moved to Arizona. I was out here for a bit now when Title Fight started to do bigger tours and make their way out to the west coast. I asked Shane on a whim if I could come along on the Four Year Strong tour and he replied with yes. Haha it was probably a week before the tour got to AZ so i didn’t believe them. I had never been on a tour that big so I didn’t start buying film till the night before they got to my house. I wasn’t sure, you know? I ended up going to walmart and buying 8 rolls of films (my lucky number) and took a lot of photos on that first tour. I couldn’t believe it…that tour was fun since i didn’t really know how things went like on tours like that. I was surprised how friendly all the bands were to me as well. Some of my favorite photos from that tour are from Vegas since it was my first time going there. We drove from Arizona over night and all woke up as we were just entering Vegas in the morning. It was rainy so we walked around the casinos a lot. Anyway, I got to do a few more tours with them and eventually a lot of them made it to the “Shed” album.

At the time did you expect those pictures or plan for the project to gain as much recognition that it has received? 
I had no idea from the beginning that they were going to be used for it. I don’t think the album even came out till 2 years after. But i loved how they used the photos…it chronicles them from the beginning of that first big tour to where they are now. I’m still very grateful every time someone brings them up. I would say them as whole have helped me out a lot with getting my name out there so i’m really happy about that.

Greatest accomplishments or claim to fame?
Man I can’t even begin. Shooting the superbowl of hardcore for sure. Being able to go to the Fest with Hostage Calm and photographing them along the way. The first year that Joe Hardcore let me shoot his fest. I emailed him a few weeks in advance but I didn’t know till the day of if i could shoot the whole thing. That was a great weekend. Basically meeting all the people I know now.

Plans to produce or print any of your work for sale?
Yeah it’s been on my mind a lot recently. I’m eventually going to make some Title Fight prints plus some of the models i have been working with. I want to do every thing just the way I imagine it so i don’t want to rush it.

As far as inspiration, who are some people you look up to for reference and aim?
As for bigger names I would say Glen E Friedman, Jim Marshall, Richard Avedon, and Annie Leibovitz. Great great photographers with a strong message. I loved how deep into their subjects they got/get. They all seemed to capture eras that are important for me for sure. All my friends inspire me as well. I know everyone says that but truly love how creative some people are.

Its the second week of 2012, what are your plans and goals that you got for the rest of the year?
Well I just got over being sick so there’s that haha. 2012 has been pretty cool tho..I believe i had 3 photo shoots already which seems like it’s going to be a year full of those. I work full time and on my days off i”m out doing shoots. I also try to do them when I work graveyards.

This year I really would like to tour more, try to have at least 25 photo shoots, and put out a few prints. Really would like to create relationships with some of the people i photograph as well…be able to do a series on one person.

Any notable shout outs or thanks you’d like to give ? 
yes! thank you to my friends and family for always supporting me. In no order…thank you to my parents, Jason Klar, Diana Sorenon, Leo Galaz, Nathan Conglenton, Alvin Carillo, Julian Berman, Kaleb Marshall, Shelby, LorenZO, Leah, Robert Scheuerman, BRENTON, Ryan Tassi, Reid, Zac Wolf, Dan Future Breed, all my Edison/Mesa homies, Aaron Coleman/Mando at Immaculate Tattoo, TEMPE CAMERA, all of my beautiful models, Stephanie Sapp, Ned..Ben..Jamie..Shane @ Title Fight, Elko, Lil Aaron, Tim, Dan, Adam, Felicia @ Epitaph Records, Johnny @ SideOneDummy Records, Karen at Define The Meaning, Joe Hardcore, Joey 6131, COLD WORLD,….thank you!!!