By: Sierra Dyson
Brandon Mangan: An Overview
“Having a camera, a notebook and the ability to use them has always been important to me.” He grew up spending a lot of time outdoors and claims,“ the weather and the landscapes I’ve seen have left a big impression on me. I feel tied to them.”
With that being said, he soon realized that he wanted to be able to capture the beauty he saw in the world in a timeless photo that would last a lifetime. With each photo he takes, Brandon tries to convey a sense of gravity and magnitude in his photos, whether they’re of people or places.
When asked about what inspires him, Brandon replied, “Inspiration is tricky. Most of the time it’s all around me if I’ll just take the time to open up to it. I remember when I was in college reading about John Cage and there was this quote of him saying something to the effect of if something is boring for two minutes try it for four, if it’s boring for four try it for 8 etc. The point being that if you look at or think about something long enough, you’re almost bound to find something interesting about it, or in this case something that lends inspiration. It’s as much a personal mindset as it is the subject.
I think the night sky is my biggest inspiration when it comes to photography, the first time I took a picture of it I heard a little voice in the back of my head say
“well, guess I’ll be doing this for the rest of my life,”
like it was some sort of reluctant confession…..
Taken in 2016, Brandon’s favorite creation is the photo that captured everything in nature that inspires him to pursue photography and what he talked about above. He had the idea to get a photo of the stars above a field of bluebonnets which he’d found at Lake Proctor. Brandon went out early in the wildflower season to test the idea (He wanted the Milky Way above them but would have to wait a few weeks for a new moon) and wound up taking what is probably his most well-known and favorite photo. It was a simple depiction of bluebonnets set against the night sky and it seemed to resonate with people as it was shared and seen by over 100,000 people on Facebook. Brandon even had people from other countries messaging him about it!
When asked about his future plans and where he will go from his newfound popularity online, Brandon stated that he will go “wherever the good Lord wills him.”
Furthermore, he said, “I have plans and goals but I lean more on the faith that each good choice gets me closer to where I’m supposed to be. I will continue to grow my photography but the livelihood and health of my family is my driving force, they’re my biggest concern and what I shape my life around. If I can take care of that, well the rest is gravy.”
“I take art for granted. I’d been considered an adult for a few years before I realized how integral art was to my own life, how my relationship with artistic endeavors effected my well-being. I learned those lessons the hard way, after years of not recognizing how much being creative means to me.
Art has manifested in a variety of ways for me. I’ve played music longer than I’ve known how to read. Not long after I began reading, I decided to start writing and it quickly became part of what defined me (even if I didn’t know it until later). I’ve been a sort of documentarian for most of my life, and taking photos became second nature in my efforts to communicate what I saw to the world. As I grew older I realized I could share that in ways that people could relate to and I’ve spent the last five years or so learning how to do that more effectively. I’ve learned quite a few trades over the years as a means to shaping the world around me how I see fit and I’ve learned to do that virtually with the images I create.
I have a need to create. That’s not hyperbole. Creating is a necessity for me to live a meaningful life and that’s a fact I ran away from for a long time. I write stories and songs. I build things, whether it’s out of electrical components, wood, or even ideas. When I make something, I want to put as much into form as I do function, out of respect for craft and human potential. When I cook I strive to be a chef, when I build I strive to be an architect, when I do much of anything I try to find ways to make that act a reflection of a part of myself. There have been a few periods in my that I’ve decided to completely cut time out of my schedule for my creative side, and regardless of the motivations the consequences quickly became apparent. I lose my lust for life. The world becomes bleaker, it loses its vitality. I dance with depression and wade into nihilistic waters. I’ve been on the other side of the coin as well, foregoing comfort and stability in the name of self-expression. I become manic in this state, losing my will and then my ability to take care of myself. Finding a healthy middle ground has been a challenge and it’s still something I must work on and monitor as I go about life today. I think it’s important that we as humans appreciate and recognize what art does for us, without forgetting the dangers that can come from taking it for granted and downplaying its importance. It’s my hope that what I make can help people realize and remember the power that art holds in our lives, and to try to recognize it in places we least expect.
Now that you have heard a little bit more about who he is, the work he does, and what inspires him, I am sure you are curious to hear where you can go to see these night sky photos for yourself.
Well, Brandon’s work is available viewing online at his website www.brandonmangan.com and he also has a facebook page dedicated to his work https://www.facebook.com/mistrmangan. Additionally, he can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for anything that can’t be found on the website, as well as for custom sizes or questions about print options and quality.