Lucha Libre

Mark Mann

Photoville • Brooklyn, New York • September 2016

For a second year I edited and sequenced images for a Mark Mann exhibit at Photoville. I interviewed Mark and wrote the accompanying artist statement and bio. It was a delight to meet him at the event after having collaborated remotely.

Artist Statement

A Mark Mann portrait is a search for honesty. Adept at digital photography, Mann respects the grace inherent in the analog process. Relying on observation, patience and synchronicity he works with a perfect accomplice - his 1940’s Graflex super D camera fitted with a 1920’s Schneider lens.

Along with his dedicated and resourceful producer, Daniel Roversi, and the support of a cadre of Kickstarter backers, Mann headed to Mexico City to reveal the truth behind the culture of Lucha Libre. This historic art form pits masked villains and heroes in an entertaining dual. It melds in equal measure fitness and fashion, bravado and irony. Begun in Southern California it settled and evolved in Mexico and continues to engage a community of trainers, wrestlers and fans.

Inspired by the classic ethnographic images taken by Irving Penn, Mann also employed a painted Charles Broderson backdrop. An engaging photographer with a deep curiosity and high regard for each individual’s story, Mann gained intimate access. These striking portraits are witness of a meaningful choreography between a concept and it’s implementation, a performer and their image-maker, a photographer and their tools. The focus is on the eyes, the storytellers.

Bio

Mark Mann, a native of Scotland, is sought for his exceptional celebrity portrait work. After graduating from the photo program at Manchester Polytechnic he assisted fashion photographers Nick Knight and Miles Aldridge in London.

Relocating to New York he brought his iconic style of portraiture to famous movie, music, sports and cultural personalities for publications includingEsquire, Men’s Health, Vibe, Spin, Fortune, Billboard, Parade and Complex. His bold work is featured in advertising campaigns for Reebok, Adidas, Hennessy, Bombay Sapphire, Pepsi, Gillette, Vitamin Water, NHL, Zumba, Ford, Chrysler and Svedka.

In celebration of Esquire’s 80th anniversary Mann traversed the country for a year to chronicle 80 male portraits, from ages one to eighty. Included was a session at the White House to photograph former President Bill Clinton and sitting President Obama.