Rico Mandel

Rico Mandel

Studio 99

A native of Los Angeles, I got a taste for photography at an early age. I was eight when a friend of mine showed me how to develop B&W film. I became addicted. I soaked up as much information as I could. My main influences at the time were Ansel Adams and Edward Weston. My mother, an artist, also exposed me to other photographers and took me to some photo exhibits.

My first trip to Yosemite, at age 12, led me down the path of doing my first serous work as an artist. Here I was walking in the footsteps of Ansel Adams.

At age 18 I landed my first professional assignment. From age 20 to 21 I owned a B&W rental darkroom and custom photo lab with a partner. This gave me the freedom to completely immerse myself into photography all day every day. Doing darkroom work, learning from customers and teaching photo classes. When the business closed I went to work in an ad agency for a year before going out on my own, at age 23, in business full time as a photographer.

I utilized my business and advertising skills to create a design studio with a foundation in photography. My fascination with manufacturing led me in the direction of the industrial world.

Over the years I have discovered that I can both merge and separate my commercial and fine art aspirations. I have developed a deep interest in the beauty of industrial world, the strength of nature and the intimate and collective life of the city. These are the themes that are my photographic foundation.