Tim Mantoani’s Iconic Photobook “Behind Photographs” — Exclusive Author Giveaway for THEME Readers!

Behind Photographs — it’s a one of a kind photobook by Tim Mantoani, a photographer from San Diego who produced editorial imagery for Sports Illustrated, Newsweek and ESPN, as well as advertising photography for Fortune 500 companies. His love of photography led to tracking down and photographing the shooters behind some of the world’s most iconic images with his celebrated Behind Photographs project. THEME spoke to Tim — and now you can win a copy of this outstanding photobook, courtesy of the author! All you have to do is share a link to this page on Facebook, Twitter or Google+.

Tim Mantoani -- Behind Photographs, Archiving Photographic Legends
Tim Mantoani — Behind Photographs, Archiving Photographic Legends
Behind Photographs is a unique and historical project that features over a 150 noted photographers together with their most famous images.

Beautifully photographed with a historic Polaroid 20×24 camera, this is one of the most iconic books about photography ever. The photographer shows the photographers behind their famous photographs. The photographers appear in the image, with their notes about their work.

The Behind Photographs project is a phenomenal idea that took more than five years to complete. And yes, Tim Mantoani chose the cumbersome process of large format film. Here is Tim about his work:

2006 marked the first year as a photographer that I did not shoot any paying assignments on film. I had become a digital photographer and was forced to work with 35mm digital cameras. Prior to that, I shot primarily medium and large format film. The process for both the photographer and subject when shooting large format is completely different and I knew the photography industry was on the brink of a major change as companies like Kodak and Polaroid were struggling to survive.

Jeff Widener -- Beijing 1989 | Tim Mantoani / Behind Photographs
Jeff Widener — Beijing 1989 | Tim Mantoani / Behind Photographs
Over the Christmas holiday, I decided to rent one of the 20×24 Polaroid cameras that were made in the 1970s, knowing that the opportunity to shoot on this format would most likely be limited. The first of these mammoth cameras was made under the direction of Polaroid founder, Edwin Land, in order to make images of their shareholders during an annual shareholder meeting.

The cameras are very unique and render an image of 20×24 images once the film is “peeled apart.” Since renting the camera was expensive, I wanted shoot something that was important to me and I called a couple of photographers that I new, legendary music shooter, Jim Marshall and sports shooter, Michael Zagaris.

I asked each of them to bring in a few of their most iconic or favorite shots and I made my first portraits on this format. The process for both myself and subjects was special and I knew I was onto something, as the viewer could appreciate both the photograph and photographer in a single image.

I also had each of them write about their photograph on the bottom of the print. From there, I began to approach other photographers, shooting from California to Boston, and over a period of five years recorded over 150 photographers on this format.

Tim Mantoani’s message to any photographer?

I think it is critical for photographers to have personal projects and to take chances. If you are not passionate about your subject matter it shows in the images.

+++ The contest will run until March 9, 2015, 11:59 p.m. San Diego time. Drop us an email with the shared link URL. Privacy assured, we won’t spam you. One winner will be chosen at random. If you’re not the lucky winner or want to make absolutely sure to get the photobook, you can still buy it from Amazon. And by sharing this page on your favorite social network, why not like/follow THEME on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ or get a subscription if you haven’t done so yet to stay abreast of the latest in photography.

  • And we got a winner! Congrats D.S., spread the good news!