ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

Best of ASMP 2019 First Place Winner Profile – John Muggenborg

By January 13, 2020 January 27th, 2020 Best of 2019, Contests

New York City
Image © John Muggenborg

The Theatrical Dichotomy of Life

First Place – Commercial

ASMP: What was your inspiration for taking this photo?

John Muggenborg: I was shooting several theaters in New York City for a creative agency and The Brooklyn Academy of Music was one of the larger, more majestic theaters I got to explore. I think the stage itself inspired me as this shot wasn’t on our shot list, but it struck me as soon as I walked onto the stage. I’d never realized how large the back of the house/backstage was when compared to the front of the house – and that got me thinking about how essential the “back of the house” is in everything we do.

ASMP: Is there anything unique about your style or approach?

JM: I try to adhere to the principle: “Keep it Simple Stupid”. This goes for framing and lighting as well as planning and producing a job. It’s easy to over-complicate things on a shoot and in order to remain nimble and flexible for the clients’ requests, I find it’s best to start with that mindset.

ASMP: What type of lighting did you use for this image, series or video?

JM: This was shot using the existing lighting in the Brooklyn Academy of Music Gilman Opera House.

ASMP: How long have you been shooting this type of photography?

JM: I’ve been shooting Architecture and Design full-time since 2011.

ASMP: What other photographers’ or artists’ work inspires you?

JM: Ezra Stoller, Berenice Abbott, Edward Burtynsky, Jan Staller, Jerry Uelsmann, Reuben Wu

ASMP: When did you join ASMP and what do you find most valuable about your membership?

JM: I joined ASMP at the Assistant Level in 1996 as a way to network with photographers and join a community of professionals. Being a member of ASMP has provided me with the confidence and knowledge to grow my business through a rapidly-changing professional landscape.

ASMP: What kind of gear do you use?

JM: I use Canon DSLRs and Tilt-Shift lenses. Apple computers with CaptureOne software and of course, Photoshop.

ASMP: What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started your career as a photographer?

JM: Getting out of the studio and networking is a very important part of growing one’s business. Time spent actually shooting pictures is only about 25% of being a professional photographer today.

ASMP: Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about yourself and/or your work? Go ahead, surprise us with something unique and unusual.

JM: I couldn’t do what I do today if it weren’t for a loving, supportive and inspirational group of family and friends. Thank you for continuing to allow me to explore the magic of recording light.

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