photo portfolio

L Paul Mann Photography

L. Paul Mann


   I was born in Boston, Massachusetts, during a rare summer Hurricane there. My father died shortly after my birth and my mother moved to Florida. She was the first female missile scientist at Cape Canaveral and I grew up as a missile baby on the Space Coast of Florida in the 1960's. My mother was quite attractive and sometimes compared to Grace Kelly, in appearance. Consequently, she was often asked to model. She appeared in a full page Life Magazine ad for Royal Crown Cola, which has become a vintage collectable image. She also appeared on several national television shows, including “To Tell The Truth” and “Whats My Line”. She stumped the panel on both shows trying to guess her occupation. None had any clue that she was a missile scientist. She appeared in National Geographic magazine, standing in front of one of the first computers at Cape Canaveral. The magazine gave her a ten year subscription to the magazine. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in my living room and reading and looking at photos in National Geographic. I developed an interest in journalism, travel, and history at an early age from this experience. Growing up near the beach in Central Florida, I also developed a great love for the ocean and became an avid surfer.

   In 1974, I moved to Honolulu, Hawaii, to study History and Anthropology, at the University of Hawaii, and also pursued my love of surfing. It was during my first winter in Hawaii, that I developed an addiction to Photography. The first roll of 35mm film that I ever shot yielded a photo that was published in Surfing Magazine. Shortly afterward, I met a young journalist from France, who took a selection of my original slides back to Paris. Hugo Verlomme used them in his 1975 oversized book entitled “The History of Surfing” The book included a large cover shot that I took of a surfer on a huge wave at Waiamea Bay. From then on, I was hooked on the idea of professional photography. About the same time, I began writing and photographing for the University newspaper, covering my other passion, live music concerts. I was happy to begin working in a straight exchange for concert tickets. I wrote my first review, in 1975. I graduated with a bachelors degree in History in 1977, and did a semester of graduate work in Anthropology.

I then moved to Santa Barbara, Ca. to attend Brooks Institute of Photography. I fell in love with the area including, Rincon point, one of the 10 best waves in the world. I graduated in 1980, with a double major in Motion Picture Production and Undersea Photo technology. I worked at a number of photo jobs, including a newspaper and photo lab. I then worked in the film industry mostly in Burbank for about a decade. I was a production assistant, swing-gang, extra, stand in, bit actor, stuntman, set constructor, assistant cameraman, and director of photography. In the 1990's, I began working back in Santa Barbara, primarily in video production. I produced shows and commercials for local television, and did corporate, event and many travel videos. I began working with a local concert production company, as well, and did a number of jobs for them, including live video, and lighting board operator. I also continued to do professional photography during this time, including lots of travel, food, and sports stories. In addition, I started working on weekends as a nightclub VJ, mixing lights and live art video to the music. I have been doing that for nearly 25 years and continue to work on weekends in a local nightclub.

By 1999, I had images appearing in over 500 publications, worldwide, including nearly ever major Surfing magazine in the world. I also had over 50,000 original travel related images placed with stock image agencies across the globe. After September 11th 2001, the travel industry started to collapse and most traditional stock agencies went out of business replaced by the newer digital agencies, like Corbis and Getty images. I went back to the local city college and reinvented myself as a digital photographer. I also began writing stories to go with my images. Since then, a majority of my work consists of concert and music reviews for local, regional, national, and international publications. But I also continue to write travel related articles, as well. I also work as a private tour guide in the Santa Barbara area, specializing in surfing and kayak adventures, hiking in the back country, wine tours, and nightlife.