Poised, balanced, and full of soft lighting and muted pastels, 17-year-old Michal K. Mangan’s Instagram photos are as aesthetically pleasing as a ballerina en pointe. It might be because she is one. Mangan, originally from Albuquerque, N.M., moved to Plymouth two years ago to attend the Boston Ballet School. Around the same time, she developed an interest in photography and created @lifeinmass to chronicle her explorations of the Boston area.
Q. How did you first get involved with Instagram?
A. It originally started as a food account, but one day I decided to watch and photograph the sunrise, since sunrises in Massachusetts are so pretty. Then, after I got signed as a model and started shooting with local photographers, I learned a lot about photography. So, I decided to get more detailed in my work and be a little bit more of a perfectionist. I wanted to make it more of an art form.
Q. Your pictures feature a lot of different models. Who are they?
A. Some are of friends of mine, and a lot are of my two brothers. There are a few people who I’ve met in the street who just asked if I could take their picture. I just use my iPhone for all my pictures — if I have my phone on me and I see something I like, then I photograph it. I’m hoping to get a real camera soon.
Q. How is your photography similar to your ballet?
A. With ballet, you really have to focus on the details. Even though most of the time the audience won’t really realize the details so much, in the end it will make your performance better. Photography made me realize the small things. Paying attention to the teeniest thing in the picture will make it much better overall.
Q. Have you used your photography to explore the Boston area since you moved here?
A. Definitely. Some days after class, I’ll ask my mom to pick me up later, and I’ll go into Beacon Hill or Fan Pier. I’ve gotten lost a few times, but it’s helped me discover different places in Boston other people may not have noticed. Photography has helped me get a little bit more bold and adventurous in exploring the city.Interview was edited and condensed. Kaitlyn Locke can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ke_locke.