Mark Mann
Leaf Aptus-II 12

"You can always reduce quality but you can’t add it. Honestly, every time they bring me a bigger camera, I say I don’t have a use for it, and then I try it, and I want it."

Mark Mann

Mark Mann photographs the world’s most famous celebrities and athletes. His work has appeared in some of the world’s most prestigious magazines, on album covers and in several coffee table books. His client roster includes commercial giants such as Reebok, Pepsi, Gillette and other top global brands.

“Growing up, I’d always wanted to do something creative. Back in high school, I thought it was going to be painting or pottery. Then one day I found myself on a train going to meet some friends at the Edinburgh Festival. And there, sitting across from me, was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. We started talking, and I asked her what she did. She told she told me she was studying photography at Manchester Polytechnic, and at that moment I decided to study photography.”

Mann was a pioneer in the use of digital photography in commercial shoots and considers himself an early digital adopter. He found that going digital was the perfect solution for the extremely tight deadlines which are the rule of thumb in most commercial shoots.

“I was hired to do a job for the Source, a popular hip-hop magazine. I’d been doing a lot of their covers. We had to shoot on Thursday in L.A. and the finals had to go to press Friday afternoon. I discussed trying digital for that job and though the editor was nervous, I pushed, and said, “Given the deadline, this is how we’ve got to do it.” For that job I used the Leaf Valeo 11. We shot the job; I took the redeye flight back, retouched the photos on my laptop and handed them over to the editor on Friday morning. From that point forward, I knew there was no way back.

“After that first shoot – as soon as I came back to New York -- I went to see Richard at FotoCare, and I bought the Leaf Valeo 11. I also immediately learned the software (Leaf Capture). Since then I’ve never had a digital tech. I feel it’s a major part of the process, not something I want to hand off.

Mann is no technophobe. While he enjoys the authenticity of working with “old-school” cameras (his hobby is taking photographs with his vintage 1950s Graflex camera), he certainly understands - and embraces - the benefits of the digital-era.

“A perfect example, is the Leaf Aptus-II 12 that I’ve been shooting with lately. I’m already familiar with the Leaf workflow, since I’ve been shooting with Leaf gear and Leaf Capture from when I started shooting digital, and it’s very simple. But with this 80 MP back mounted on my Contax camera, I’m getting an astounding boost in capability, whether I’m shooting tethered or portable. It really depends on your shooting situation.”

“I appreciate that Leaf have just about completely eliminated moiré. That’s huge. I was recently doing a shoot of some clothes, using the Leaf Aptus-II 12, and I was thinking to myself that it was going to take hours to correct the moiré. Then we got the images in front of us, and amazingly, the moiré just wasn’t there! So already, I’ve saved hours.”

“Then, too, for me the ability to crop is important. I shoot full frame. But sometimes a client may say they love this tiny little area, and then I’m able to give them what they want, because with 80 MP resolution, you can enlarge that small area without losing any details. You know, the 10” by 8” negative was the ultimate in photography (though I know people went bigger than that) but as a goal for perfection, these 80 MP cameras are the first I’ve seen that approach that.”

“I’m very fortunate; I usually get to control things around me. But I’ve been outside and seen something, and I’m desperate to take a picture and I so use my cell phone and I’ve got a crackin’ picture. Would I love to have had my Leaf? Of course I would.”

Mark Mann is a New York based celebrity and sports photographer. A Glasgow native, he attended the prestigious photographic program at Manchester Polytechnic, and spent early years assisting fashion photographers Nick Knight and Miles Aldridge before launching his career. Mark's editorial work has appeared in magazines such as Men's Health, Vibe, Spin, Fortune, Billboard, Parade and Complex. He’s shot celebrities such as Iggy Pop, Jack Black, the Black Eyed Peas, Jerry Seinfeld, Dave Chappelle, Rihanna, Queen Latifah, Simon Baker and Jenifer Love Hewitt. He’s also photographed album covers for Sony, Universal Def Jam, Virgin and Capitol Records. He’s worked for a wide range of commercial clients including Reebok, Hennessy, Pepsi, Gillette and Vitamin Water to Ford, Chrysler and Sean John.

Mark’s portraits have been included in several coffee table books, most recently Rolling Stone’s Tattoo Nation and Hip-Hop Immortals, and group photography shows. His work was recently on display at the New Museum in New York City.

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