Jack Manning III
Interview by Uriah Young
QFTD: Tell us about yourself. Who is Jack Manning III?
Jack: Good question! I hope I'm a good son, good brother, and a good friend. I pray I'm using my talents to the best of my ability. Whether it's music, piano, track, art, photography, writing, voice-overs, or even singing, I just want to be a "fine artist" (to reference a term I heard first from my Fine and Performing Arts classmate Douglass Davis!). I am someone who takes his crafts seriously and works to develop in each area. I am the son of two extremely hard working parents, who taught me that in life, success is how happy you are with the choices you have made. At the end of the day, you aren't successful because of money or fame...you are successful if you can look in the mirror and smile at your true self and your accomplishments.
QFTD: How did your photography career launch so quickly?
Jack: Was it fast? LOL. I don't know about quickly, but I will say it seemingly happened overnight to those who weren't watching. I've actually been into photography ever since I was a kid. While in college, I would take pictures of my friends and subject them to photoshoots for my classes. I stepped away from it while I was making music, but my passion for the lens was simply hibernating. One day, a great friend/mentor allowed me to shoot with his digital camera in his Hampton studio. Jenell Webb said, "If you break it, you buy it..figure it out..." and walked out, leaving me to figure things out on my own. I credit him, because had he not trusted me to find a way, I wouldn't have discovered my own photography style. Within about two years of "figuring it out", I was published in Ebony magazine for a fashion spread on HBCUs. I managed to get the title image, which took up two pages. From there, more opportunities started coming my way: more magazines, a nation wide ad for NUVO with Trey Songz, and even an entire college text book featuring my photography. My journey has been pretty cool!
QFTD: Where do you get inspiration for your creative photo shoots?
Jack: Inspiration comes from so much. As an artist, you can literally wake up with an idea. Sometimes a conversation, or even a phrase in a text, will spark an idea. I'm a HUGE movie person, so I love to recreate movies in limited frames. I've touched on movies like Friday the 13th, Psycho, Breakin', and Kill Bill. I love shoots like these, because usually it takes an ensemble of creative people, and I love working with talented minds. So, I guess inspiration is always around; we just have to keep our eyes open for it.
QFTD: Why do you think your subjects, including clients and corporations, continue to book your services?
Jack: I think people and corporations book with me for a number of reasons, but the thing I get the most compliments on is the overall "Jaxonphotogroup" experience. They enjoy their time with me and my talented team of make up, hair, and clothing stylists. I try to provide an environment where someone who has never modeled before feels comfortable. I think photography is best when it isn't posed. It's best when it's natural and almost accidental. Ultimately, I want people to connect with the person or people in the images and say, "I love that image. This is so her/him". I tend to shoot more "regular" people than I do "models", and I hope that I make them feel "magazine-ready" during our experience.
QFTD: Who are some interesting celebrities or key figures you have worked with the last few years?
Jack: I've had a wide range of clients in front of my lens, and I'm proud to say it has been a great experience with all of them. Trey Songz was a great character on set, and even though he had just gotten off a flight from Japan, his energy was upbeat. His images came out great. I've had the honor of shooting with two-time Oscar nominee for wardrobe, Ruth Carter, while she was on set doing "Being Mary Jane". I like Ruth a lot! She's down-to-earth, humble, and an overall pleasant person to be around. This past weekend, I shot with NY Times Best Selling author, Mary B. Morrison, and she was fun to be around as well. I've had some of the coolest clients and experienced great shoots with them all.
QFTD: When you take photographs for a wedding, how do you approach the big day for the bride and groom to ensure quality pictures.
Jack: Weddings can be stressful. They are generally more stressful on the bride. I tend to try and keep the mood light through humor. Anyone who has ever shot with me knows, I tend to slip into a British accent really fast, just to lighten things up bit. On a wedding day, I am the same way. It's best to keep everyone happy and laughing so I can do my job to capture the best quality pictures. If they are stressed, it shows in the photos. If that doesn't work, then I offer them a shot.. LOL! (jokes)
QFTD: In the future, what do you look forward to when it comes to your photography?
Jack: I'm looking forward to widening my client base and photography services. Architectural, automotive, interior design and videography are all genres I've been dipping my toes into. I recently did a shoot with Bentley of Atlanta and Roche Bobois in Buckhead, GA. I look forward to working more with some of the high end brands, but I will continue shooting with everyone who is interested in creating new memories.
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