INTERVIEW WITH MALY MANN AND JASON LANE
DM: Diego Martinez
MM: Maly Mann
JL: Jason Lane
DM: Hey guys, thanks for joining us - can you introduce yourself and tell us who you are and a bit about your work?
MM: I’m Maly - we live in LA, I’m a model and photographer - I moved to LA about four years ago at this point. I got involved in the scene by meeting people who were shooting, and then started taking my own photos, then got more into modeling by shooting with friends. We have a lot of friends who have brands and I started mixing that with my personal stuff, it just sort of fell into commercial work.
It’s a cool scene right now because there are a lot of models getting into photography. For me it was photography first, I picked up a film camera and used to take it around, hanging out with friends in Long Beach. I kind of fell into modeling that way, I didn’t expect it but it was nice because you learn to understand exactly what to do in front of the camera. Now I think a lot about the model or person in front of the lens, and what’s going to help them out the most while shooting.
JL: We’ve travelled a bit for stuff recently, Maly is repped in NY - I work as a brand designer, so I’ll sort of bounce between the two. I’ve been contract freelancing in graphic design and illustration, worked in-house for a couple of places but now I mainly do 0-1 branding for a company in the tech space, I also make work for Stone’s Throw, (record label; Mad Lib, MF Doom, J Dilla).
DM: So as image makers, what’s your take on New York vs Los Angeles in terms of what they can offer for image making and design?
JL: I grew up in New Jersey, so I went to NY a lot as a kid, I was definitely heavily inspired by metropolitan stuff at that age, which I think relates a lot to the street style in my images and work in general. British photographer Chris Killip made some incredible work photographing towns in the UK, I’d say that’s a good balance of what I look for in photography. Representing it as art but also getting a practical documentary style - that relates more to me as a designer and I try and put it in my own work.
"PHOTOGRAPHY REPRESENTING ART BUT ALSO HAVING A MORE PRACTICAL DOCUMENTARY STYLE - THAT RELATES MORE TO ME AS A DESIGNER AND I TRY AND REFLECT THAT IN MY OWN WORK."
JL: In terms of LA, I’d say the main difference is that it’s a lot more spread out, there’s more openness. My focus is mostly around people rather than the surrounding environment - LA can be very inspiring for photography but can also feel really spaced out, so having some sort of prompt or theme to follow definitely helps.
DM: I also shoot, but I’ve never been to LA - the artistic palette definitely feels more saturated compared to New York.
JL: The scene here leans commercial for sure, a lot of people go to Griffith, Malibu, Elysian park. I think it was nice to think about doing a DIY internal shoot with a flash for this - the idea in general being not have the ‘LA background’ on everything that comes out of here.
MM: There’s certain emotion to both, I feel more relaxed in LA - when I’m in NY and be able to be creative, it’s a different type of expression, I come back to LA more inspired and have more thought into what I want to do in my work. I think a lot of people forget that there’s a good sense of calmness you can take from the space.
JL: There’s just more room to think and relax, it’s hard not to feel like you’re constantly jumping around places in New York. I’m sure if I had a studio in NY I could find the same solace I do here, sometimes when I visit and stay for a while I can sort of see myself there, but again I’ve never been fully settled in so it’s hard to gauge.
DM: So who are you guys into now in the arts that we should know about?
MM: I really like David Black, he’s a photographer here who’s been in the industry for a while, he makes really good books too. He has one called The Days Change At Night, it’s a gorgeous book about the LA scene and how much we don’t really pay attention to it day by day… a lot of emphasis on horses and birds. We did a shoot here once, with a burning car and pigeons. His way of thinking and expressing is incredible, and not many people deal with photography in that way. It’s almost Lynchian, he creates a picture in his head and just finds a way to make it happen — in that case with pyrotechnics.
JL: Dan Bruinooge, who I share a studio with. He’s a really talented multidisciplinary artist, it’s great sharing with him and just being able to create in a similar space with someone else. Aaron Jupin is a painter who’s great, Michael Bala too, he’s a sculptor. Adam Alessi, another painter here in LA. In New York I’d say Chris Shonting, and I also love Quentin De Briey - the tones in his work are beautiful and very New York City.
MM: Drew Escriva is a very good friend of mine that I also see as a beautiful mentor. Her work is effortless, whimsical, and always carries an emotion. I love her and her work as she's helped me through learning the photography process. Also Adam Ridgeway, he is a great graphic designer and friend of mine who I had the honor of meeting for coffee in New York some time ago. He now lives and works remotely from Australia but continues to pump out beautiful work for brands internationally. Definitely a name to remember as I think he's going to keep going further!