Beyond The Lens – It has been a busy week for Internet Hollywood with all of the news that’s been coming in from talented people all over the world that’s filling us in with all of their latest collaborations, achievements, events, designs, and more. I have been working endlessly to get as many stories published on this website as I can before this year ends. It has always been a rush to get as much news as I can from talented people like Rhode Island photographer Constantine Manos.
It’s been a while since I interviewed the photographer so I made sure I got it done as soon as I could. I got in contact with Constantine over messenger and told him I was interested in interviewing him and he gave me the green light to send the questions for him to answer. I really had a great time interview him and I hope you enjoy reading the interview as well!
~*~*Beyond The Lens /w Constantine Manos*~*~
Internet Hollywood: What’s up Constantine?! It has been a long time since we chatted and i’m happy we’re finally able to make that happen. I have been connected with you through a few social networking sites for almost two years and not once could I say you slowed down your drive. You continue to put your camera to work and stockpile content from many collaborations from models all over the New England. It’s a great pleasure talking with you again. How have things been? Are you working on any new projects?
Constantine: Thanks Justin, It’s hard to believe it’s already been 2 years! You’re right, I have been busy. I’ve had a dramatic increase in the number of inquiries to shoot which have been coming from so many different sources. It has been a fantastic year for me creatively. I moved into a new loft studio space a year ago. It has a lot of corners, angles, stairs, windows, bricks and beams. It makes for a great range of set designs. In addition to the many fantastic models I’ve worked with from across New England, I have also been receiving an increase in requests from other parts of the country. I did a couple of road trips in New England this past year so I may consider expanding the geographic areas I’ll visit in 2019.
Internet Hollywood: Your experience shows in your work and I know you invest a lot of time in what you do and everyone connected to your pages can’t deny it. Would you say your satisfied with everything that has happened this year as far as photography is concerned or do you feel it could have been better?
Constantine: Creatively I feel I’ve had a great year. I’ve met and worked with so many amazing people in the past year. To me, capturing real, honest and candid images is the most rewarding to me. I’ll continue to work in the same genre and style, however, I am planning to move away from “novelty” shoots. In my career, I have focused primarily on fine art themes. I plan to continue to gravitate more in that direction. I worked on and recently finished a great project in the past year. It was named “The Vintage Playboy Project:”. I worked with some amazing models from across New England to come up with contemporary re-interpretations of old Playboy magazine covers. (https://www.instagram.com/vintageplayboycovers) Finally, I can’t not mention that there has been a very apparent decrease in reliability when it comes to creative partners. I am pretty flexible, yet diligent when it comes to communication-related to the scheduling and planning of shoots. Despite this, I have had so much time wasted due to no-show appointments. In 2018. In 2019, I am going to lean more towards working with others who have been both reliable and creatively aligned with me.
Internet Hollywood: Now that we are about to enter in a new year what goals are you destined to conquer and is there a timeframe on when you want to get it done?
Constantine: Yes, there are several significant goals for 2019! I have started a series focused on fabrics and light. I’ve always loved shooting with fabrics and I planned to be very focused on this project’s theme. I’ve already done a few shoots for the project and I am extremely pleased with the results! I also plan to launch a new magazine to share my work in print. It will also allow me to share work that can’t otherwise be shared on social media. I’ve already started the first and hope to have it out for the start of 2019.
Internet Hollywood: Photography is pretty much becoming the IT thing when you take a look at what’s occurring all over social media. Some photographers told me that they felt the value in real photographers isn’t appreciated because of the people that claim to be photographers when they never really picked up a camera. How do you feel about this increase in social media photographers and models? Do you feel it’s a good thing or a bad thing?
Constantine: Ugh, that’s a lightning rod sort of question! But I will be honest. I already mentioned the unreliability trend I’ve noticed. There has been a big increase in the “Instamodel” trend. I’ve had some great shoots with those who have had a serious interest in pursuing modeling. But modeling isn’t just posing and great looks. It requires knowledge of how to work within the framework of the profession, even if you’re relatively new and have ambitions beyond just taking pictures to post on social media. On the photography side, many of the same long-standing issues continue to be all too pervasive. I never cease to cringe at the stories I hear from people I work with and from what I observe myself. There are too many people who have just picked up a camera and feel they are instantly a photographer, “Instaphotographers”! This is a troublesome trend which has also increased. People with dispositions more in line with used car salespeople who just picked up a camera. As a father with two grown daughters, it bothers me thinking that someone would be playing either of them in such a way. Models who are new can be so vulnerable. When they get positive feedback and then inquiries to shoot, there’s almost a sense on their part that they have.
Internet Hollywood: You have been doing photography for years so I could only imagine how you perceive the changes in the world and that made me wonder enough to ask; is there something about photography that changes someone that you feel all beginners should know if they decide to pursue photography?
Constantine: I just passed my 50th year shooting photos! My father was a photographer and I shadowed him on shoots when I was a kid. I saw how he viewed the world and what he would pull off to the side of the road to photograph. I got my first camera, a simple little camera that shot black and white film. I got it for Christmas in 1967, I still have the images from my first roll of film! Photography is a difficult profession. I can’t make a living on it alone. But my plan is to slowly move more towards photography as my primary (and only) profession over the next 5 years. Photographers have to be good communicators and deliver good customer service, not just take nice photos. Much of the later part is common sense. Last time I checked, you can’t get a degree or certificate in that! There are other considerations such as equipment costs, data storage and management, software licenses and powerful computing platforms. This infrastructure is important if you plan to seriously pursue photography.
Internet Hollywood: From what you learned coming up as a photographer what would you say is a photographer’s downfall?
Constantine: From a business perspective, you must embrace and be willing to do both the best and worst aspects of what the professions require. Part of that means you’ll very often have to shoot to spec rather than just creative pursuits. It also means good customer service. If you can’t be successful in that area, you’re sunk in any business. Always improve; You can always improve your skills and refine your style no matter how much experience you have.
Internet Hollywood: I always thought that you did all the shoots you ever imagined because you have so much content. If that isn’t true please tell me this; is there any kind of photo shoot that you always wanted to do that you haven’t done yet? And is there any model that you would like to collaborate with that you haven’t collaborated with before?
Constantine Manos: I want to do more location photo shoots. Not just another shoot in the woods, but dramatic physical landscapes contrasted with the presence and fusion of the human element. I’ve traveled a lot in my life and know places all over the country and the world where I’d love to shoot. One dream I have is to go on a cross-country shoot with a couple of people who would love the same experience. On collaborations: Hmm, there are always people who catch my eye that I’d like to collaborate with! If I had to mention one person whose look I like and could see fitting with my style is Stormy Laray. Haha, she doesn’t know this, but maybe now she does!
Internet Hollywood: Thank you for the interview, Constantine!
~*~*Thank You For Reading*~*~
Photographer for Constantine’s picture: Johannie Valdez