I am so excited to bring you another installment of my interview series here on Being A Wordsmith called 5 Questions With…
Today I am pleased to showcase an interview with my good friend Dino Mangano. I met Dino over 10 years ago while I was working at a school district in Detroit. We recently had a chance to hang out together when he and his wife, Margaret, came to visit me and Hubby in New Orleans.
I’m sure that you have seen the pictures of me throughout my blog with a short haircut whipping in the wind, a crisp, sleeveless white shirt, and vibrant backgrounds of water and trees. That’s Dino Mangano’s work!
1. You wear many hats…husband, educator, photographer, author. How do you manage to devote time to all of those roles?
It’s difficult balancing time between all the responsibilities/careers I have. Some things have been cut out of my life temporarily to make room for others (soccer coaching for example). Being a husband is always my top priority, but I truly believe that one can’t be a good spouse if they’re not happy with their own personal life. So, if I don’t have the create release of photography, or the fulfillment of teaching, I can’t be the best husband I can be.
2. When did you realize that photography was more than a hobby but a passion of yours?
In 2002, I went through a bit of a transformation in my life. New career, new love, newly rediscovered interests… art and photography. I had never dabbled in photography up until that point, and I never did take any classes or lessons. I simply grabbed a camera, went out into nature, and started shooting. I tried creating works of art in my photography that I’d want to hang on my own walls. Everything just snowballed from there: from nature to modeling photography, from modeling to wedding photography. Finally, publishing my art into a book seemed to be the next logical step.
3. Your new book, The Art of Michigan’s Wine Country, is now available on Amazon. What was your motivation for publishing it?
I’ve always shot photos of what I want to see in a piece of artwork. Whether it was nature photos, modeling photos, or even wedding photos, I’ve never been overly concerned with shooting what was expected or proper, just what I liked. So over the years, as we’d visit the Leelanau and Old Mission Peninsulas, and fell in love with the area, I was drawn to shooting photos of the area. My wife would relax and read a book on the beach, meanwhile I’d wander around shooting photo after photo.
So, when I developed the desire to create my first photo book, it seemed natural to choose a subject that I was passionate about. I did consider something related to Tuscany (and I think that will be my next book), but I had so much work from Up North that I went in that direction. After 3-4 more photo trips, I had enough photos for the book.
4. As a high school teacher in inner-city Detroit, what do you instill in your students outside of the curriculum?
Wow, that’s a tough question. I think it’s different depending on the gender of the student. For the young ladies, I definitely try to develop a sense of confidence and self-esteem. I believe the biggest problem facing girls today is low self-esteem. Sadly, this leads to poor life decisions later on. For our young men, there seems to be an issue of maturity and making good choices concerning academics. It amazes me how many young men make a conscious decision to do poorly in school, due to peer pressure. So many students with issues in their life can trace them back to those few problems.
5. Do you think you will ever choose one of your passions over the others?
I’ve always told people, “Never ask a teacher how they like their job anytime between January and April.” While it’s an incredibly rewarding calling, it’s exhausting! By this time of the year, I feel like an 80 year old man; tired all the time. Overall though, I consider myself blessed to be able to teach, mold, and support young people. These kids are incredible and I think I learn just as much from them as they do from me.
However, each year my heart leans more and more toward photography. It’s a stress reliever, not a stress builder. If teaching were focused more on the kids, and less on paperwork or standardized tests, politics, etc, I might not feel this way. But I think as time goes on, I’ll feel an urge to choose photography over teaching. Thankfully, I don’t have to make that choice!
Yes, thankfully you don’t, Dino. I appreciate you taking time out of your busy schedule to share your passion with me and my readers. Your new book is beautiful from cover to cover. Congratulations on a job well done.
The Art of Michigan’s Wine Country is an artistic look at the beauty, flavors, and culture of America’s best kept wine-making secret. See the region through the eyes of Nature and Fashion Photographer Dino Mangano, who has made Michigan’s wine region a constant destination for vacations and photography. From the rolling hills of Old Mission Peninsula, to the wineries and small towns of Leelanau Peninsula, your eyes will fall in love with the entire process, from grapes in the field, to the wine in the oak barrels, to the fun in the tasting rooms.
You can get a copy of Dino Mangano’s book on Amazon by visiting this link on Amazon.
Contact Dino Mangano of Mangano Photography for further information at www.ManganoPhotography.net
5 Questions With…is a Being A Wordsmith interview series geared toward sharing insight from people who are embracing happier, healthier, and wiser lifestyles.
What do you think of Dino’s photography?
Have you been on a tour of a vineyard before? Wine tour?
Do you have a favorite wine? What is it?