Verena Mandragora is a successful Fashion photographer; who live in Vienna. Any type of history and various life performances mostly inspire her, we had the opportunity to talked to her and discover more about her career and dreams.
When did you first get interested in photography? What sparked it, and when did you decide that it was what you were going to do?
I started with photography in 2007. Originally I was editor at some magazines here in Austria. The editor-in-chief asked me to take some snapshots of an event just for our archives – nothing serious, but he encouraged me to try something else than my small pocket camera. Three weeks later I bought my first single lens reflex.
Were you educated in photography, or are you self-taught?
I studied theatre, film, media and art history. That is a good background when it comes to picture composition or iconography. I have learned (and are still learning) the techniques from other photographers and something very classic: books. Although there are also some great tutorials and channels on Youtube, I am more the „learning by doing“-kind of person.
What camera do you use the majority of the time?
A digital single lens reflex camera. Full frame. I love analogue medium format as well, but I have not used it for jobs yet.
You are mostly focus on fashion photography. Once you’ve mastered this, is there any other types of photography you’re looking to move into?
Maybe. I was planning to switch to another field of photography every year. Fashion was supposed to be my „first year“. Stuck to it since 2010.
Which photo are you currently most proud of?
The one I take in my next session.
Comparing where you are now with where you are when you first started, what could you have done differently to get to where you are sooner?
When I started with photography, I was still studying. If you focus full time on photography, it´s more likely, that you „emerge sooner“. But photography was never a sole discipline for me – it is influenced by so many people, performances, actions and shapes around me, that it is essential for me to take my time and get inspired.
You’ve clearly worked with a wide range of models, what tips can you recommend to people looking to expand their portfolio?
Know what you´re able to do – or even better: Know what you´re not able to do. There are always some new faces who are looking for their first pictures and sometimes they refresh your work. Talk to them, look at them and create – together.
Describe a typical shoot
There is no „magic“ on my set. Most of my pictures are just happening. (Perhaps that´s „magic“.) You´ve got an idea, you look for the right clothes, the right face, the right arrangement, the right light to support your idea. Of course there are some ingredients that makes it easier: a model, make up artist, stylist, photographer and even assistant who knows what he/she is doing is a big advantage. To keep in mind: Take courage to do something different and leave your comfort zone.
How much time do you spend taking photos, versus retouching photos?
Taking photos vs. Retouching: 70:30
Who would you like to work with most?
With my grandmother. She´s turning 90 this year and I would be happy to do a small photo shoot on her birthday.
Favorite photography book?
William Wegman, Funney Strange
To know more about Verena please visit: Verena Mandragora