PYSK: MILLER MOBLEY
THIS PAGE: Usher for Billboard, shot
using one hard light that’s meant
to emulate on-camera flash.
situation? Instead of being the photographer that
acts like he’s done it a million times, how can you
One shoot in particular that Mobley holds
dear is when he and his wife found themselves
standing outside the White House, about to head
in to photograph the President and the First Lady
of the United States. “We were just two kids from
Alabama,” Mobley says. “We couldn’t believe this
He, his wife and his crew had background
checks, dogs sniffed their equipment and the
secret service plugged in their lights. There were
about 20 people in the studio room when the
President casually walked in. What proceeded,
from Mobley’s perspective, was a 4-minute blur
of conversation with some possible shooting. The
First Lady told Jana she liked her shoes, and the
President told Mobley his wife was beautiful. And
that’s about all he remembers.
“I have a picture that’s proof, of me and my
wife with the President and First Lady, but I
feel like we talked more than we actually took
pictures,” he says. “The next thing I knew, they
walked out and I was breathing really hard, like, I
can’t believe that just happened.”
And as one could imagine, Mobley went hard
on the prep: he packed multiple cameras, and
backup lights for the backup lights.
SHOOTING FOR LONGEVITY
Even reaching what many would consider to
be the pinnacle shoot isn’t enough for Mobley
to sit down and relax. “One of the things in
photography to think about is longevity,” he says.
“Yes, you might be a photographer, and yes, you
might do it really well for three or four years, but
how do you make a career last a lifetime? How
do you not sink? How do you keep evolving,
reinventing, pushing yourself and creating work
On the tails of his early aspirations to be a
cinematographer, Mobley’s poked around in
filmmaking, having pitched in for a commercial
for Everlast, which the boxing company wound
up buying on spec. That was four years ago, right
around when his celebrity portrait work took off.
He decided to switch gears back to photography
at the time, but now Mobley’s feeling the itch to
do some directing. It’s just finding the time.
If you ask him how he feels about where he’s
at in his career as a photographer, Mobley is
humble and considers himself emerging: “I’m still
doing all I can to make a dent in the photography
industry, so I can’t lose my focus too much.”
That said, he assures we’ll be seeing more of
the cinematographer in him soon, with plenty of
filmmaking projects to come in the future.