Coming from a family of vaudeville performers, I gravitate toward photographing people whose lifestyles and mentalities exist beyond the mainstream. My great-grandparents were vaudeville musicians. My grandfather was Mandrake the Magician, and he and my grandmother began traveling with vaudeville, then continued to devote their entire lives to performing and inventing new magic acts, while raising their four children.*
Because of my family background, I'm naturally drawn to those who carve out their own unique paths in life. People who in some way go against the grain make the most interesting subjects to shoot. They are at once vulnerable and brave because they are always exposed in their communities as outsiders, and yet have the courage to push forward with their beliefs despite societal, cultural, political, religious, or familial pressures. They are what is beautiful and unique about life. They are rich, soulful and often misunderstood people that stretch the perimeters of acceptance and pave the way for future generations to potentially create a new norm.*
An art therapist once told me that every work of art is a self-portrait. I believe this is true whether it's a drawing, a piece of music, performance art, a poem or a photograph. There will always be a part of the artist's subconscious exposed in every work of art they create.*
Keep an ear to the ground for my upcoming documentary, two new books in the making, and a Super 8 film with my husband.
*excerpts from my book, UNDERGROUND
"Keep your ear to the Underground"
Copyright © 2018 Käla Mandrake - All Rights Reserved.