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Manilla was first introduced to the world of photography at a young age when his grandfather gave him a Kodak camera for his fourth birthday. His photographic interest flourished as he reached his teens. Combining his love for music, Manilla became the resident photographer for local bands and musicians. After leaving school Manilla pursued a career in music, playing guitar and keyboards and touring with various bands. His musical career diminished as he gradually picked up more and more photography work.
Manilla states that his work is defined by building trust with his subjects over a prolonged, yet informal shooting period, rather than a formal, structured photoshoot.