Tuesday
May012012

Austin Mann: Photographer and Owner, Weld

Austin considers himself a technician that understands how to capture the splendor in the Creation around him. He has traveled to over 40 different countries in the last three years and has worked with numerous non-profit and faith-based organizations to help them better cast their vision worldwide. His work has been published by National Geographic, NY Times, ABC, Washington Post, Travel Channel and more. His heart and passion is to use what he's be given for eternal impact and he no longer has a place to call "home." He is continuously working on projects around the globe to help organizations better tell their stories, increase funding and ultimately grow their projects. 

Hometown: Wichita, KS

Age: 26

AHD: What is your favorite restaurant in Dallas?

AM: Meddlesome Moth

AHD: When did you first start exploring your craft? What initially drove you to photography?

AM: I started shooting a ton in the Spring of 2006. The story is long, but it’s all very connected to my testimony as a follower of Jesus. Long story short, I started shooting as a result of my efforts to clean up a few things and honor God with my life. Prior to shooting, I was always working in visual art—print design, web development, etc.—so when I picked up the camera, it felt pretty natural. 

An open-fire stove burns under the stars in the hills of northern Kenya. 2011AHD: You travel a lot as a humanitarian photographer. Where is your favorite place to travel so far? Where do you choose to shoot when you aren’t on the road?

AM: I never know how to answer this question because each place is so vastly different. I would have to say India or New Zealand. India because of its magical atmospheres, incredibly wonderful people and fantastic food.  New Zealand because it’s hands-down the most incredible place to soak up the beauty in Creation I’ve ever seen. Striking landscapes, crystal clear water, breath-taking clouds and so much more. 

AHD: You describe yourself as “a technician that understands how to capture the splendor in the Creation around him.” How does your understanding of and/or experience with photography determine the way you choose to describe yourself? 

AM: The greatest of art is in the natural beauty of the Creation around us.  I do see myself as an artist, but really I am just capturing the beauty that the Great Artist has surrounded me with.  

AHD: You have the coveted privilege of published work in National Geographic among other notable publications such as NY Times and The Washington Post. Most of your work, however, is for non-profits and humanitarian projects. What is the relationship between your work in these publications and your work for humanitarian organizations and missions?

AM: Early on, I interned at NatGeo Adventure and loved it. I learned a ton, met fantastic people and it was an incredible experience. But I learned quickly that this kind adventure and travel stuff was not what I wanted to do. My heart longed for a deeper purpose for my images than showing off exotic travel locations to the wealthy. 

When I began working closely with non-profits, I immediately resonated with that type of work and became passionate about advocating different causes.  As I’ve worked with more than 30 organizations, many of them have sought outlets for their stories and different platforms to gain exposure. Much of my work published by bigger networks is as a result of these efforts. 

Photo left - Life thrives beneath the morning sun amidst this village in northern Ghana. 2011, Photo right - Dinkonesh, a young girl in southwesthern Ethiopia, lives among one of the few tribes that have received the Gospel in this region. 2010

AHD: Tell us about WELD and how you envision this space contributing to the artistic community in Dallas? How do you see WELD potentially partnering with Art House Dallas?

AM: I decided to put the bulk of my shooting on hold for WELD for a few reasons. It’s a great opportunity to help enable others to do great things, to build teams that go out into the world and do things far more grand than I could ever do alone. 

WELD is a place for the body of the church to manifest itself through the arts, which is at the core of the Dallas community. And best of all, it’s wrapped up in a potentially lucrative business model.  

The idea of partnering with Art House Dallas is super exciting. Just as WELD is an environment for individuals to partner and collaborate, I want to be collaborating as a business. Art House and WELD will compliment each other in great ways. WELD’s facilities are a little more geared toward photographic and video production and Art House is able to cater to those across many different creative disciplines.  I look forward to fusing our communities and collaborating.

AHD: Besides WELD, do you have any new projects you would like us to know about? How can readers follow you and your work?

AM: WELD is definitely the main thing cooking right now. We plan to host our first event at WELD very soon on Friday, May 11th!  We'll be showcasing our new space with the world's party photo booth and showing off stellar work from local artists.

Our friends at Union Bear will provide food and drink, and the team over at Hello Somebody is graciously helping make the whole thing happen! We're excited about everybody involved and ecstatic about hosting this first event for the Dallas community! Vistit our Twitter for more details.

As usual, I have a couple of other things brewing. I teach workshops called Light the World with the fabulous Esther Havens. It’s a one week long intensive workshop designed to help enable photographers to connect, serve and use photography as a tool to impact the developing world through imagery. 

The best way to keep up with me is Twitter, but I also keep a blog http://www.austinmann.com/trek that I update as often as I can.

 

 

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