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Five Questions: Manny Crisostomo

29 June 2018

What was your first introduction to photography?

Started out as an intern reporter for the Pacific Daily News (a Gannett newspaper in Guam) the summer after graduating from high school. The next summer I starting as a lab tech in the newspaper’s photo department and been hooked since then. Ended up transferring for the University of Guam to the University of Missouri, Columbia and their famous Journalism School and world renowned photojournalism program.

What's in your camera bag?

More like a ThinkTank roller case..,

Leica SL camera with 24-90mm and 90-280mm lenses. Leica M10 camera with 24mm Summilux, 50mm Noctilux .95, 75mm APO Summicron and 90mm APO Summicron. Also Leica Monochrom camera, Leica -XU and Sony a7r ii with 24-240mm lens (mostly for video)


Do you have a go-to or favorite system?

Use the Leica gear almost everyday - for freelance photo shoots and shooting my twin girls.

Got to shoot ballet with the Leica S system and love it.

Who's your inspiration?

The legends of photojournalism and documentary photography - Henri Cartier-Bresson, Eugene W. Smith, Sebastiao Salgado and my contemporaries who worked at National Geographic.

But I am curious of all types of photography ie. Richard Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe, Ansel Adams, Ruth Bernard, Garry Winogrand, and there are some young shooters I admire and follow on Instagram. I once took a week long portrait photography seminar in Carmel, Calif. with Arnold Newman, Bill Burke, Nan Goldin, Jay Dusard and Annie Lebowitz.


What's the best advice you've received or given as a photographer?

I still remember this quote from 30-40 years ago from National Geographic Editor Bob Gilka;

“We are up to our necks with photographers but only up to our ankles with story ideas.”

Here’s an excerpt from a magazine story about me from several years back.

What advice can you offer younger photographers when it comes to being a visual reporter?

I would stress respect – respect yourself and your subject. In the course of our business we will run into mass murderers and Mother Theresas.  There will be people we admire and people we despise but it is important we remain fair and show respect. The other component is to respect yourself and honor the profession. With respect at the core one can then build on technical expertise, talent development and stuff of the heart – passion, desire, dedication and commitment.