Called back to the Hill as a Mesaros Visiting Artist in February, Mannion, a psychology and art double major, worked with photography classes taught by art professors Greg Spaid ’68 and Marcella Hackbardt.
“It was very hands-on, and he was an excellent teacher,” said Spaid, who had Mannion in class at Kenyon. For the “hands-on” portion of the workshop, Mannion snapped multiple photos of the students, and they photographed him in return, giving them an exclusive look at his work process.
“To be able to get a glimpse of his artistic process and, particularly, the gregarious manner in which he engages his subjects—things that clearly have been so key to his success—was really intriguing,” said Ally Schmaling ’14, a studio art major from McFarland, Wisconsin.
Mannion, who has been described by MTV as hip hop’s “go-to photographer,” has shot 300 album covers, including the Jay-Z debut Reasonable Doubt, Eminem's The Eminem Show and Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III. Outside the music industry, he has photographed Olympic athletes, NBA players, fashion icons and Hollywood actors, and his work has been exhibited internationally.
Having first-hand access to a successful alumnus like Mannion was especially influential for Schmaling because she wants to pursue a career in photography. “From listening to his personal story and witnessing him in action, I learned that there really is no formula for making the perfect photograph or for gaining entry into the photographic industry,” she said. “What it takes is a lot of hard work, an adaptive and intuitive state of mind, and a little bit of fortuitousness.”
Here are some of the photographs that Mannion took during his visit to Kenyon.