Photographer and fine artist Zandy Mangold grew up in New Hampshire, and since then has traveled and resided in Santiago, Chile, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, GA, and Eleuthera, Bahamas prior to making New York City his destination and home. His love for photography and fauna was evident early on as he stole his parents’ Polaroid camera in order to photograph his tabby cat, Blueberry, when he was only six-years-old.
After freelancing as a journalist in Washington, D.C., Mangold earned a degree in Photography from the Portfolio Center in Atlanta, GA. His photographs have appeared in TIME, Rolling Stone, The New York Post and The Washington Times, among other publications. The Flatfile Gallery in Chicago, IL and Southside Gallery in Oxford, MS represent editions of his fine art.
Animal Fair met with Mangold to expose the creative alchemy behind his animal photography.
RS: Share with us your special tricks and techniques you use when photographing animals.
ZM: The first “trick” is to always have my camera ready. This literally means moving about with camera strapped to my hand and adjusting my exposure as the lighting changes so I am ready before I even see an animal.
In nature I start with a telephoto lens that allows me to shoot from a distance and then move to a wider angle as I get closer. If I am strolling around a city then I opt for wide angle to telephoto zoom for quick adjustments.
Then, as with any subject, after the initial contact, it’s critical to put the animal at ease – unless it’s a rhino in the veldt and then you just stay downwind.
I approach photographing people and animals the same way, ideally establishing a relationship (of trust), then building towards a collaboration. Like people, animals are unique, so it’s important to be aware of what they respond to or won’t.
RS: What was your most unique and unusual experience when capturing an animal image?
ZM: I am a cat lover, so when I read the Lonely Planet travel guidebook about the Torre Argentina ruins in Rome, which also served as a cat sanctuary, my first mission in Rome was to find this supposed feline Eden. It turned out to be the mother lode of urban cats. Hundreds, if not thousands of cats, living in harmony, up, in and around partially excavated ruins. I spent an afternoon chilling with docile felines and taking pictures. I was also amazed to stumble upon a formidable community of cats in a cemetery in Buenos Aires famous for housing Eva Peron’s grave.
One time in Turkey I went for a walk outside my hotel and met a cat. We became friends and she followed me back to my room and spent the night in my bed. And then there was another time when I met a couple dogs at the Ephesus ruins in Turkey, took a couple shots and they followed me all over ruins and back to my hotel!
Wherever Zandy Mangold’s travels and adventures take him, animal and art lovers alike will get the chance to share his experience and get an eye full through his artistic compositions and photo imagery.