Carlos Mangado

Carlos Mangado

Carlos Mangado, native of Spain and with professional experience in Switzerland, is an NYC-based architect and designer who uses photography to shape what we observe in his own creative way. His work is defined by capturing day-to-day urban scenographies and offering a new view to these often unnoticeable and worldly details, full of textures, colours and light. He aims to decontextualize the elements on-scene in order to provide his audience with visual ingredients so they can build up their own stories.


Behind the lens

M&Co - Where is your favourite place to shoot and why? 

Carlos - Anywhere where I can spot classical elements, such as capitals, pediments or colums. The Ancient Greece is my favourite architectural period, and I find it incredibly elegant to shoot those kind of details on camera. They always produce a very interesting game of shadows.

M&Co - Who are your biggest inspirations?

Carlos - To name a few, and from different artistic fields:

The photographer Andreas Gursky; his large format images, kind of a “modern verduta” are highly inspiring. Fun fact: his photo “99 cent” is my favourite photo ever.

The painter Jacques-Louis David; I love how he incorporates neoclassical elements, hence copied from the Ancient Greece, into his compositions. Those are usually front elevations, which is a very architectural way of seeing reality.

The artist Jeff Koons; I know a lot of people criticize his art as cheap and easy-to-replicate, but I really like the metallic coating of his sculptures, as well as the neon pop colours. He does an interesting visual exercise when taking daily objects and putting them out of scale or context.

M&Co - How would you describe yourself and your work?

Carlos - I have always had a lot of trouble answering this question, but recently my partner told me “details, textures and light” and I am truly convinced she nailed that one. Those elements define the pure essence of my pictures.

M&Co - Being self taught, what advantages do you think that gives you?

Carlos - It gives me the flexibility to learn at my own time and pace. I am quite anarchic when it comes to what and how to shoot, sometimes I could be driven by a certain colour aesthetic I have been seeing around, while another day all my motivation is based on trying to capture as many different license plates as I can.

As I do not have anyone or anything behind telling me you should submit this project by this time, or you should study this artist, creative inputs flow around very organically and naturally around me, and I decide when to follow each.

M&Co - How have you found life since moving to NYC?

Carlos - Very different to what I was used to in Spain and Switzerland.

The rhythm in this city is quite frenetic and when you are a new joiner you really don’t want to miss a thing of what NYC offers, but at the same time you cannot embrace it all, so it is tiring and frustrating.

I started enjoying this place once I developed my routine of where to go (and eat!) and what to do, and of course exploring every inch of NYC with your camera is a lifetime experience itself. There are so many details to capture that I could launch a photo book after every photo session.

M&Co - What about it inspires you when it comes to design; whether that be architecture or photography or other?

Carlos - It is only due to my architectural training that I developed a true passion for design and photography, so it is hard for me not to see them as inter-connected disciplines.

That’s why it is so important to seek for constant visual references and extend your image bank as broad as possible: it is impossible to imagine anything that has not tangible elements to be based on. If you only know A and B, you can only produce AB or BA, but if you know A, B and C the equation is richer…

The essence for an environmental graphics project might come from a building façade, or the idea for a photo session arises from a neoclassical painting composition. The key is the amount of elements you are capable of playing with.

M&Co - What is your biggest take away over the past year?

Carlos - The opening of my website last March.

It was a personal project that I had had in mind for years, but for one reason or another I was always making excuses for myself. That’s why I marked it as my biggest resolution for 2023.

I could not be happier to be honest. Not only the reception and the feedback about the content and the images has been super positive, but also I am very proud of the project itself, as it works as an editorial platform more than just a bunch of photos.

M&Co - What's next for you; upcoming projects or whatever you'd like to share

Carlos - "Editorial design is one of my biggest passions, so I am working on a couple of personal projects that grant me the possibility of combining my photography with some editorial touches.

One is a series of folded brochures (similar to the ones you find at any museum or visitor center), to showcase the variety of topics which I shoot about. The other one is a photo-zine that will narrate visually the impact of the American flag in different scenarios."

M&Co Your top 3 inspo resources to visit?

Carlos - One of my go-to websites is called Atlas of Places. The content is so varied (ranging from essays to cartography) and well-curated that it is always worth visiting to get some ideas.

More specific about typography I really like the site Fonts in Use; always great when you need references of new fonts and how to combine them.

And related to design books I love Counter-Print: the selection they have is amazing and they include sneak peeks of the inside, which I always appreciate.

PS: if I need mock-ups Mockup&Co is the place to go!

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