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Meet Morgan Mantilla of Movekii Creative in Central LA

Today we’d like to introduce you to Morgan Mantilla.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Morgan. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My brother got me into photography when I was a kid; he would take me to shoot landscapes in the Santa Monica Mountains and taught me all about photography. I got my first camera when I was ten and experimented a lot with self-portraiture while I was in middle school since I didn’t exactly have models to shoot. I quickly discovered that this was the way my brain worked, seeing the world in scenes, image stories, noticing shapes around me, and watching how light and shadow played on those shapes. In high school, I began to realize how much I could say with visual media that there was just no other way for me to express. Luckily, my friends were very open to being a part of all my experimental shoots. Working with them, I learned how to bring a vision to life collaboratively. I also learned how to create a rapport and a comfortable environment for my models so they would open up to me and reveal something unique in my photos.

Now, as an emerging fashion media professional and photographer, a sense of exposure is at the core of my work; I seek to capture the innermost essence of my subjects. I know that if we can work together to find that unfiltered authenticity, that is what will give the shoot life. Beyond creating aesthetically pleasing or technically sound work, it is essential to me that it speaks to the viewer, elicit an emotional reaction in them. Because of that, my dream is to eventually become the Creative Director of a fashion magazine, dreaming up and crafting the vision for the magazine all day.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Fortunately, for the most part, it has been a smooth road. I think the different challenges I’ve encountered have taught me to be resourceful. The biggest struggle I’ve dealt with was when my high school photography teacher let his personal biases affect his teaching. He would praise my work one day and berate me the next day. Then, out of the blue, he pulled me aside and said he didn’t like my choice of friends and had decided not to admit me to the second year of the program, even though I was at the top of my class. That experience was very confusing and discouraging as a young person. I am lucky that I have supportive and encouraging parents that helped me deal with it. It actually worked out great for me in the end since it made me look for other options. I eventually applied and was accepted to a much more advanced and comprehensive program at the New York Institute of Photography, and I completed their two year professional program. Even when I was younger, if I had a vision in my head, there was nothing that was going to stop me from making it a reality. Didn’t have a backdrop? Alright, well it’s a portrait so I don’t need a huge backdrop. I’ll get a poster board from the craft store and tape it to the wall. Don’t have studio lights? I’ll shoot by a window at a certain time of day to get the contrast of light and shadows that I want. No makeup artist? I’ll ask my sister to teach me how to do this look on a model.

Please tell us about Movekii Creative.
My business is Movekii Creative. As a fashion journalist, I have cultivated a number of skills in different areas of my field. Movekii Creative specializes in creative direction, photography, writing, and continuing education. As a writer, my interviews, lifestyle articles, and copywriting have been featured in magazines and online in the U.S. and abroad. There are a couple of achievements that I’m most proud of. First, my work on the BASIC Magazine Rebel Issue, for which I interviewed Tess Holliday and assisted with the creative direction for the spread. Second, receiving the 2019 Student American Advertising Award for my cross-platform integrated ad campaign titled “The Iceberg,” which focused on informing consumers of the importance of media literacy and providing them with ways to actively educate themselves.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I was growing up surrounded by a huge extended family. Being first generation Peruvian-American, it was amazing to grow up so embedded in my cultural roots. We would have big parties almost every weekend, my aunts and uncles would bring traditional Peruvian dishes and teach me how to dance salsa. Peruvian culture is so warm and playful. I loved being a little bilingual baby running around with my cousins and playing pranks on the adults.

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