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Photographer Spotlight Massimo Mantarro

Photographer Spotlight with Massimo Mantarro
By Graham Blus 
We were blown away when we came across Massimo's Instagram feed. Images full of nature, adventures and wild animals caught our attention. Below we talk about his life in Germany, what drives him and where he hopes to go next. You can find his social right here! 
Make sure to follow Massimo on Instagram and find him on his website!

Massimo, you are from Germany by way of your parents emigrating from Italy. Can you tell me more about growing up in such a beautiful part of the world?
Yes, that’s correct…Well, today I feel incredibly blessed, to be honest. But that hasn’t always been the case. My parents or let’s rather say their mentality made them a bit overprotective and also reluctant to the natural beauties that lay around us, so we never went hiking when I was a kid. Instead, I rather stayed inside playing video games a lot. Being raised by quite typical Italians it was normal to love the heat and the sun, just as they did, and so did I. I learned to love the summer and sunny days, and I hated the rain and the cold. But at some point that changed drastically. I met an amazing friend who became like a brother to me and he showed me the incredible beauty that my region has to offer. I started to appreciate the freedom that reigns in nature, the diversity that it offers and also the tranquilizing effect it has on the mind. I learned to see the beauty in the darkness and moodiness that is quite present in my area. And learning to love where I live was really the cornerstone to a lot of positive change. There is beauty in every creation. Everywhere. And photography helps me to see this, no matter where I am. So I can say that growing up here was a challenge as long as I didn’t learn to love the culture, the mentality, and my surroundings. But now that I did that, I wouldn’t want to change it.
What type of photography and creative work are you doing now? Where do you hope it will take you in the next few years?
In the beginning, I used to work mainly with couples, doing wedding photography or other couple photoshoots. But now I’m getting more and more attention from companies that look for a creative way to have their products presented. Especially in connection with the outdoors. And that has been a dream and my plan since I started. I really enjoy working together with companies just like Elevated Oak, because there’s this love for the outdoors that connects me as a photographer and the product on a deeper level. And I hope I’ll immerse deeper and deeper into this field of outdoor product photography because it’s simply put: satisfying.

Where are some of the favorite places you have or want to photograph? 
Having traveled 16 countries, including the U.S., parts of Scandinavia, Ireland,  Ukraine and many other parts of Europe, I definitely prefer the north. I’d love to go back to Iceland which I visited in 2016 because just two years ago I didn’t even know how to use manual mode on my camera. New Zealand would be a place I’d absolutely love to photograph. I’d love to see places like Roys Peak in person! Makes me melt every time I see a picture of someone else there. And then I’d love to see less known places like Svalbard, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and such. My main criteria for a great trip is that the area is as wild and as untouched as possible.
Do you have a favorite photograph that you are really proud of? Or a few if there are more than one?
I wouldn’t really say I’m proud of any picture to be honest, because I’m not the one that created what I capture, but I definitely have some that are special to me and that convey a certain message and feeling:
I love this moment because it felt incredibly dreamy. The view. The light. Everything felt perfect. Right there. Right then. I’d do it over and over again. No regrets whatsoever. Absolute freedom. Conquering yourself is the most liberating process in my opinion. This is what this picture expresses. To me at least. And it’s also the picture with the most likes on my feed so far, which is really cool, to be honest!
This shot was absolutely not planned and it just conveys this feeling of serenity.
It’s so relaxing to just sometimes pull over and enjoy the view you have. Or drink a cup of tea or whatever if you live in the city, haha! Just slow down sometimes.
This one is special because I didn’t even know anything about photography when I took this. That was, as mentioned, in Iceland in 2016. Our car broke down so I decided to see what’s over the hill and found this incredible spot. I remember not feeling any cold at all. I was simply too mesmerized for any of that. And it also shows it’s not about the equipment you use. It’s about being present. Seeing things from a different viewpoint and seizing every opportunity to use our time as good as possible.
If you had to give one piece of advice to live by what would it be? 
Eventually…the only things that matter on your deathbed, are not the money, nor the time you spent working for something you might have even hated, but the memories and experiences we have made. With the people we love. I think that’s what this is all about. Just find something that makes life worth living. Try as hard as you can, because it can definitely be found and it’s worth every effort! And it may take a while ;)
Thank you very much guys it was a pleasure!
Make sure to follow Massimo on Instagram and find him on his website!