LOVE FROM L.A. // Scarlet Mann, Photographer
Scarlet Mann is a Wonder Woman.
Dreamy, California cool-girl Scarlet Mann transfixes us this week with her photo series inspired by our All Seeing Black Dot lace-ups. Encapsulating the local Topanga scene, Scarlet reflects her intimate knowledge of the area in her commanding manipulation of light and colour.
Represented across the US, Scarlet is known for her exhibitions LA Odyssey and 2016 UPALLNIGHT; balancing editorial work with personal projects while raising her three boys. A true Wonder Woman, Scarlet's completely captivating images have taken these lace-ups in a direction totally foreign to anything we had ever envisioned ourselves. We think this is absolutely radical, yes!!
Interview by Alex Birch, Images by Scarlet Mann and Richard Knapp
Living and working in California, you have this beautiful, very unique light to work with. How do you think your LA home has influenced you as an artist?
It's funny you mention that as I used to live in London, and upon returning to Los Angeles I definitely was sort of forced to shift my shooting expectations. In the beginning I was super bummed because I was missing that London light, the overcast glow, the wonderful open shade and moody skies, etc. but now, as I've adapted, I've learned to love the California edge, the layers of shadows and golden sun speckles.
I find that the more I leave the canvas blank in my head when heading out on a shoot, the higher the ratio of those "magic" shots I'll obtain. I love to soak in the environment where I'm shooting and in the present moment, allow the mood to evolve organically as opposed to my OCD brain trying to dictate what shots I need to get. My favorite photography quote is by Edward Weston, "Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph, is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk." That really sums up sort of my mentality when shooting.
You have two little boys who, as in this series, sometimes appear in your shots. Can you tell us a little about what it’s like working with your boys as well as how you find balancing motherhood with a growing portfolio?
Yes, actually; as a mom of 3 boys (my first son is already grown up and out of the house) fashion and style become a bit more difficult. I immediately thought how perfect this line is for everyday wear when you demand comfort while maintaining the integrity of your personal style. Between racing around town taking them to all of their activities, to last minute grocery pickups, to homework deadlines, to play dates and birthdays, fashion can sometimes be put on the back burner. This pair effortlessly elevates the most casual of looks. As far as finding balance, that explains it in and of itself. You must find balance. I could never pull it off without such an amazing husband.
We were really excited with the dreamlike way you’ve interpreted our All Seeing Black Dot Pony lace-ups. What was the inspiration behind this series? Did you have an immediate direction you wanted to take it?
A few years back, while working on some life crafting exercise I was prompted to ponder the age old question "while on your death bed, looking back at your life, what do you want to see?" and somehow for me I always come back to color. I want to see a colorful vibrant life. I like to think of life as a painting. If you paint your world with as much color, creativity, and vibrance as you can, you'll literally drown out all of the ugly, the mundane, the bad. So when I received this particular pair, I was super excited to style it with pops of color here and there with an overall black & white consistency. I wanted to capture the Topanga lifestyle that is my day to day so I shot it all around my neighborhood.
Can you talk us through some of your favorite photographs from the shoot?
I guess one of my fav shots is the one with the boys in their wetsuits. I've always loved seeing some of the nostalgic shots of my husband in the 70s leaning on a wall wearing his wetsuit post surfing with his dad. I wanted to create a vibe like that.
I also love the Art wall shot. The Art wall in Topanga is positioned on the main stretch of Topanga canyon, and it's sort of a token of the Topanga lifestyle. Topanga canyon is filled with artists, eclectic people from all over. I used the sun visor to sort of pay homage to my first series as a fine art photographer LA Odyssey.
Scarlet wears All Seeing Black Dot Pony
What does being radical mean to you?
Staying connected to your dreams, working hard and pushing through the chaos that naturally occurs when manifesting changes in life.