Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Hello my name is Mandela Castaneda. I was born and raised in Oakland, CA. Taking pictures was once a hobby and now something I love doing for a living. I've always loved art. I purchased my first camera right after college and fell in love with taking pictures of beautiful sceneries, long exposures, and birds. I'm currently doing photography Full-Time.
Why did you choose to pursue a career as a photographer?
I love seeing the reaction from my clients face. There's always this sense of joy and excitement when showing a client my work right after the photoshoot. I've never had a career where so many people show that they appreciate your work.
How would you describe yourself to people that don't know you?
I am very chill, I love to laugh and tell jokes to make others laugh. I love art, i love drawing, painting, and creating art. I love shopping at vintage thrift stores and putting together a concept. I was born in the 90s, but always imagined myself getting dressed in the 70s or 80s.
What are the key ingredients for a striking image?
I would say the scenery and outfit. Once you put that key ingredient together there has to be a great pose. I love to screenshot my poses a day before the photoshoot and tell my clients "try something like this".
How long does it take to create one of these wonderful works?
To come up with the concept one day. Ordering and delivering a week and photoshoot 1HR.
Has your vision and style evolved or changed over time?
My vision and style definitely changed during the time. I was once told by someone that my pictures were plain and had no concept.
I now add props to my photos, different locations that people normally don't have photoshoots. My vision defiantly has changed and constantly drawing up new concepts.
Could you share how you expand your vision of art, as a photographer?
I would say I expanded my vision by comparing my work to others. I also believe my work could always be better. I'm defiantly hard on myself. I love to think of a location when doing a photoshoot as a video game. For Example, the last photographer high score was 1,000. I want to set the new highscore for that location. I,ve always been competitive in everything I do.
What do you think is the hardest thing in your life you've ever had to overcome?
I would definitely have to say leaving my full-time job during the pandemic. Knowing that i have a son that's 2YO and leaving my job to pursue my dream which is being a professional photographer.
What has been the highlight of your career so far and what are your hopes/dreams for the future?
I would say the highlight of my career so far is being submitted by Malvie Mag. Greatly Honored.
Where can our readers keep up with your work and get connected with you?