PYSK: MILLER MOBLEY
When it comes to an artistic identity, Miller Mobley is very sure
about a couple of things. For one, he’s especially intentional
about his lighting; he likes it to be motivated, from a thoughtful
source. It’s important to him to provide a personal experience for his
mostly celebrity portrait sitters, so rather than throwing as many lights as
he can into a scene, Mobley says, he carefully considers how light can
complement his subjects at their absolute best.
The Alabama-born photographer is rather dogmatic about his color
palettes, too. Developing his signature cinematic look is a ritual he
deems essential in setting oneself apart as a photographer, and for him,
capturing deep, color-rich photos, without heavy-handedness in post-production, is the crux of what he’s been going for. Once his photos are
in Photoshop, Mobley scrutinizes everything—the grain on the image,
the way a curve looks, whether the shadows are green or blue, or
desaturated. It all matters.
But all said and done, Mobley doesn’t have his entire “thing” nailed
down—and that’s how he likes it. “I don’t know if I have my style figured
out yet, honestly,” says Mobley, whose career began in earnest just a few
years ago. “I’ve been thrown into this craziness, and I feel like at times
I’m still discovering my style. And then there are times when I don’t
really want to have a style. I don’t want to be a photographer that has
a certain look. I want to be a photographer that can provide different
looks. And that’s how I am personally, I’m all over the place and I don’t
like things to always look the same. That can be good and bad. But I
would get bored if I did the same thing all the time.”
Thus far, things have not been boring for Mobley, who had just
returned from a trip to Zurich with his wife and business partner,
Jana, by the time he sat down for a phone interview in New York,
albeit also getting ready to hop on a flight to L.A. Very recently
Mobley became bicoastal, splitting his time between New York and
L.A. (though now that Jana is pregnant, he adds, they might just
settle on the West Coast for a while).
While juggling editorial assignments from The Hollywood Reporter
and Billboard—those two hire him the most, he surmises—Mobley’s
been working on some advertising projects with You Tube and Google,
and he just finished a big ad campaign for Steinway & Sons and for
National Geographic Channel’s new show The Story of God with Morgan
Freeman. His rather recent influx of commercial clients is largely due to
signing with NYC-based rep Stockland Martel late last year. Still, Mobley
is first and foremost known for his celebrity portrait work.
But he never intended for that to happen. His journey over the last
five years has been filled with unexpected turns.
THIS PAGE: Shooting Zayn Malik for
Billboard, Mobley mixed magenta
light with mimicked moonlight on
location in Topanga Canyon.