Manny Mares: 2014 Big Brain Awards Finalist, Design (VIDEO)

Janessa Hilliard
Mesa-based photographer Manny Mares.

You submitted nominations for awards given to the Valley's emerging creatives, and the results are in. Introducing our 2014 Big Brain finalists.

Leading up to the Big Brain Award announcement and Artopia on April 25, Jackalope Ranch and Chow Bella will introduce the finalists. Up today: Manny Mares.

The one-story house is on the corner of a suburban neighborhood of south Mesa. The window is open slightly to let in a spring breeze, carrying with it the voices of neighborhood children playing outside. He has a radio on -- top 40 hits -- but the room is thick with concentration, and no one is really listening.

"Can you --," He gestures to a brightly lit stool in front of a white backdrop. The small room, otherwise barren, is bright with Christmas bulbs strung on the ceiling. "I want to test the light."

See also: "Urban Legend" Award Celebrates Creative Phoenix Pioneers in Honor of New Times' Fifth Big Brain Awards

26-year-old Manny Mares has been making photographs since receiving his first camera (a $200 point-and-shoot, as he describes it) as a high school graduation present back in Edison, New Jersey.

Once he realized his friends were able to take pictures of the local punk bands he was listening to, Mares dove headfirst into the lifestyle, shooting groups around Boston, Philadelphia, and New York City.

Born in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, Mares and his family moved to the Valley in 2009. He continued to spend his time photographing musicians in spaces like the now-closed Clubhouse in Tempe, touring with the band Title Fight on the club circuit, and transitioning from concert photos to behind-the-scenes images.

Courtesy Manny Mares

When his digital camera broke on stage right before a tour, Mares invested in a film camera. The raw look of the shots and the rough composition of instant film drew him in. He began shooting friends in their homes. Those early prints became the blueprints for his creative compositions.

It was this kind of work that led to fashion.

Video by Evie Carpenter.

Location Info


Clubhouse Music Venue - CLOSED

1320 E. Broadway Road, Tempe, AZ

Category: Music

Bentley Projects

215 E. Grant St., Phoenix, AZ

Category: General

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