Paul Mango: Portraiture for the New Normal
The coronavirus pandemic has changed how we live our lives in so many ways, and that challenge is felt uniquely by artists. LUMIX Ambassador Paul Mango has been able to channel his creativity not just for his own artistic growth, but for a cause: he’s doing “porch-trait photography”—that is, portraits from a safe social distance—to raise money for face shields for front line workers, as well as for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. At LUMIX, we’re so delighted that in these challenging times he’s turned his art into a project that will benefit so many.
In order to meet the unique needs of socially distant portraiture, Paul—who previously was primarily a landscape / cityscape / nightscape photographer—chose the LUMIX G9 and Leica 100-400mm lens and the G85 with a Leica 50-200mm lens, citing that “Using these camera / lens combinations allowed me to maintain a safe distance from my subjects during the pandemic. Regardless of the pandemic, I especially love using a longer lens for portraiture as the effect of the lens is slimming and the bokeh in both lenses is wonderful and perfect for pleasantly blurring the background and bringing attention to my subjects.” The Leica 50-200MM lens in particular was a standout: “One of my favorite all-around lenses — amazing for portraiture or nature, and astounding image quality.”
The cameras’ abundance of features helped Paul achieve his goals beautifully, and in a timely fashion. “The burst and 4K capabilities offered by the Panasonic line of cameras came in handy to ensure that when shooting portraits, one never misses the perfect moment or expression . . . Since all photographs during this project were for donations, having the ability to quickly review and make minor edits was key to getting clients their photographs the same day.” He then used the camera’s WiFi function to forward full-resolution photographs to his iPad. “I was then able to quickly edit my images using SnapSeed and upload them to my DropBox; I wasted little time with edits and post-processing.” He had a chance to take advantage of the face recognition and focus functionality of both cameras, which he had rarely used before, and found them “exceptional—I plan to use that functionality more and more.”
The benefits of this project are not just in the results either: the opportunity to interact with others safely was an inspired choice during the early part of lockdown. Not only was each session a chance for Paul to get out of the house and meet neighbors; it also provided the subjects a fun activity to break up their pandemic-inspired boredom, too: “Families had fun during our portrait sessions and not only did we capture some great posed shots, but also some informal, funny moments.”
What has resulted is that, because of a changing world, Paul’s photography has changed, too. Through this project, he’s being contacted more and more for portraiture photography as well as his landscape photography, which has led to increased sales from his landscape photography portfolio.
Paul Mango is a New Jersey-based photography enthusiast who works full time in the financial services industry in New York City. Paul commutes to work on most days by bicycle and he always carries a camera with him. Photography serves as an important hobby and creative release for Paul and he enjoys photographing cityscapes, landscapes and nightscapes. In addition to photography, Paul enjoys spending time with his wife and children. Paul and his family are passionate about the outdoors and each summer they visit different National Parks in order to spend time together, unplug, hike and take photographs.