I have been excited to share this interview as I fell in love with Moments by Mancuso's work and I am pretty sure you will too. I am always drawn to those who can express emotion and capture life in images and she is good at both of those. Her black and whites draw you in and her color carries a depth of it's own as well. It makes me want to be better at capturing the daily moments.
Thank you, Tonya, for sharing with us!
How long have you been shooting and what inspired you to begin with?
When I was younger, we had a house fire. Everything we owned burned with the house. My childhood pictures burned with it as well. I am pretty sure that this monumental event is what started the seed of photography to grow in me. I lack those memories and have always felt a disconnect to who I was back then. I could look at other people’s pictures for hours and was intrigued with the story they told. Although drawn to pictures, I never started “seeing through my lens” until after my first born child and a DSLR gifted to me for Mother’s Day. I wanted to capture every moment of my kids growing up and I wanted them to be able to have these moments forever. Even still, I was just aimlessly snapping away. It wasn’t until a year ago that I started shooting in Manual and desired to tell their childhood story in a more detailed way.
What is your current favorite image and why?
My heart cries out for REAL life moments, documentary-like if you will, and this image portrays that loudly. What mom or family doesn’t connect with the kids, climbing over the van seats, almost naked because they got so dirty and wet playing, that they had to take their clothes off. This happened right after my “lifestyle” session with them and we were packing up to go home. So glad that I kept my camera available!
Describe your work in three or four words.
I am still trying to figure out my editing styles because I keep learning so much and it’s only been a year since I started. However, I would say, genuine, emotive, moody and imperfect.
What is in your camera bag and favorite lens to shoot with?
I don’t usually talk shop seeing that I only a have a basic crop sensor and 2 kit lenses. Although I would love to have some great equipment under my belt and some better techniques, I just don’t have the money to go further right now. However, I do use my 70-200 most often.
How/Where do you find your inspiration and creativity?
My kids and “real” life because it’s all beautiful. I want people to have the treasured images, that in time, will remind them what their lives were truly like at that point in life. Also, being able to capture details like their chipped fingernail polish, their silhouettes that outline every small feature, the way they make each other giggle, their connection to each other, to the light, to nature, these are things that inspire me to create art! I also think I see in black and white and am always drawn to dark, moody images.
What are your current goals?
Now that the community around me is starting to notice my work, I am striving to communicate my vision better. I can’t say that I am strictly “documentary” because I am still learning all that that implies. However, that’s where I am heading and I would love more people to embrace it. I live in an area where big bows, smock dresses, monogrammed everything is the style. There is nothing wrong with that at all. Nonetheless, it’s such a norm around here to have perfect portraits done and that’s just not my heart. It may be a never ending goal but I am striving to get clients to see the beauty in the everyday!
One word of wisdom that you would like to offer or encouragement to fellow photographers?
I hear this time and time again but it’s so true! I still need to remind myself of this EVERY SINGLE DAY! BE YOU. That’s it. It’s not easy but in order to thrive in this business and feed your creative soul, you have to be you!
Facebook page: Moments by Mancuso
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