The photography of Jenna Manson has caught my eye for quite awhile now. I would see it at conventions and be hypnotized by the beauty of the images. There would be so many gorgeous works of art that it was overwhelming trying to make the decision on which one to purchase. Finally, at the last convention I went to, I made my decision, and I could not be more happy with it. It was then that I thought how wonderful it would be to interview such a talent.
PopHorror: When did you become interested in photography?
Jenna Manson: Photography has always been something that interested me, so I finally decided to take it seriously about 15 years ago. I started learning how to photograph people by using myself. I figured that would be the most challenging way to learn it. Also, I started out with a Konika 35MM film camera that my Dad gave me.
PopHorror: It is so astonishing how you are both the model and photographer in your work. Can you tell me about your artistic process?
Jenna Manson: I start off with one thing. It may be a mask, a dress, a movie theme or whatever, but it all starts with one thing, and I build from there. When I am on location shooting, I never pre-plan it. I go with the feel of where I am. I let it speak to me. I may go with a certain selection of costumes and masks because I have way too much to bring it all, but I let the mood of where I am create an image in my head. Then I go from there. The only time I really plan out a shoot is when I am making props for it. Then, obviously, I have to think about what I need for the shoot and create it. The same goes for my editing process. I let each photograph speak to me, and I go with the mood the image puts off. I do nothing by the books, I do it the Jenna way. (laughs)
PopHorror: What drew you to the horror theme of your photography?
Jenna Manson: My mom raised me on horror. It’s been a part of my life for as far back as I can remember, so it’s second nature to me. Also, people are familiar with horror. It is a nice bridge to the rest of the photographs I create. I guess it shocks them less to see characters they know alongside the weird characters I create. I also am a huge lover of all things vintage. Combining horror with vintage things, like clothes, dolls and pairing my prints with vintage frames, just works for me. I get to combine all the things I love. It’s a pretty cool thing.
PopHorror: Your photography has always appealed to me when I would see it at your booth at conventions. It made me so happy to finally purchase the Chatterer piece. It mixed your artistic vision with one of my favorite horror films. What is your typical reaction from people at conventions to your work?
Jenna Manson: Thank you so much! It is greatly appreciated. For the most part, the reaction is positive. I have such wonderful, supportive people who stop at my booth and tell me how much they love what I do. Some will just offer words of support and others will collect it. I am so grateful and love support in all forms. It lets me know I’m doing something right. It still leaves me in awe when someone spends their hard earned money to own a piece of what I do.
It’s quite an amazing feeling that someone values what I do enough to support it, but of course not everyone is a fan of my work. There are people who question that it is me, and say there is no way I do it all. They find it distasteful or inappropriate. Here and there, I will get rude comments either said to me or as they walk by. But I try not to focus on that because the positive definitely out weighs the negative. I try to keep in mind that I can’t please everyone.
PopHorror: What is your favorite piece that you have created?
Jenna Manson: I get asked this a lot, and it’s hard to answer, because my favorite always changes depending on my mood. Currently, I’d have to say my newest clown composite is my favorite. I have 10 different clown looks in it. It took me 9 hours to shoot it and 15 hours to edit just one image. My face was raw from all the different make up applications I did and my body was sore from shooting for so long. Also, to get it completed to show at one of the conventions I was vending at, I worked on it for 8 hours straight the night before to get it done. I don’t think most people know how much goes into shooting and editing your own portraits. It’s not like doing a selfie on your phone.
PopHorror: Are there any photographers that inspire you?
Jenna Manson: There are many that I admire, but my top two would be Brooke Shaden and Karen Jerzyk. I actually got to meet Karen Jerzyk at a convention we both worked at. I was totally intimidated to sell in the same room as her. She is just so good at what she does, and her images blow me away. I was happy to see that people that bought her prints also were buying mine, too. That gave me a confidence boost to go over and talk to her. I was scared to speak, but she was awesome, and it was cool to get some pieces from a person that I admire so much.
PopHorror: What conventions do you have planned coming up that you will be attending as a vendor?
Jenna Manson: This late spring and summer some of the conventions I will be vending at are: Living Dead Weekend, Monster Mania, HorrorHound Indianapolis, Mad Monster Party, Scares That Care and some Villain Arts tattoo shows.
PopHorror: My final question that I love asking everyone: is what is your favorite scary movie?
Jenna Manson: My all time favorite horror film is Rosemary’s Baby [read the PopHorror retro review here]. I have so many favorites, most of which are ’70s horror, but Rosemary’s Baby is tops for me. It is amazing! Just when you think grandma and grandpa are these sweet and loving folks who wouldn’t harm a fly… boom! They conjure up Satan to get you pregnant. It’s the best!
PopHorror would love to wish this exceptional talent the best of luck! If our readers are interested in checking out more of her art, click here! Her photography can also be viewed on her Instagram (@jenna_manson). Stay tuned to PopHorror for all your horror news, reviews, and interviews.