Last September, Austin Mann was driving through the fog somewhere in Iceland, unsure of what was ahead of him. “I had no idea what was on the other side,” he told us. “At the end there was this giant glacier shattering into the water. And I was ready to capture it because I had my iPhone.”
Austin took a panoramic picture of the glacier, which is now displayed in Apple stores around the world. Other iPhone pictures he took during that trip have been featured online, on billboards, and on the sides of 30-story buildings. Somewhat unintentionally, Austin has become a pioneer into a new era of photography and videography — and a model of a new kind of photographer.
“It’s been an evolution,” Austin says. “In the 1970s, you’d have a guy with a Hasselblad getting hired for an advertising shoot, and the art director would show up and be like, ‘Wow, what is this thing?’ And the photographer was like, ‘Hasselblad.’ It’s a $50,000 camera, and the art director had no idea how to operate it. So that was a huge part of the photographer’s value. Fast-forward to 2009, and you’ve got a 5D as the main camera. The art director shows up and he’s like, ‘Oh, you’ve got a 5D. I’ve got one of those in my backpack.’ Now fast-forward to today, and my grandmother is carrying the same camera I’m using.”
It’s not just a technological revolution, though. It’s existential as well. The things that used to define a photographer and a filmmaker — gear, technical know-how — those things have never been less important. In fact, they hardly matter at all. Now, more than ever, it’s vision that counts.
The proof is in the pudding. Here are some of Mann's work...