Reclaimed timber and beautiful vintage drawers are the building blocks for The Little Mountain Lightbox Co’s gorgeous handcrafted lightboxes. We talk to photographer Mandy Lamont about days spent shooting near her home in the stunning Snowy Mountains NSW, and what she loves about working with photo images.
How long have you been playing with cameras and what’s the first image you can remember taking?
My first camera was a wind on point and shoot with 35mm film! I can’t remember the first image I took, but when I travelled around Europe in the early 2000s I got a taste for travel photography.
How did this love of photos develop into the idea for The Little Mountain Lightbox Co?
After doing a night time photography workshop where we were taking images in the dark and painting with light (torches), I thought the images needed to be shown lit up. I was also wanting a different way to show my images rather than just a print in a frame.
Tell us about where you live and how you spend your time. What’s a typical day for photographer/lightbox artisan/mountain lifestyler/business manager Mandy Lamont?
Since the GFC in 2009, I have called Jindabyne home. I love the mountains and the beauty within them. There isn’t such a thing as a typical day for me. As a photographer I shoot everything from weddings to real estate. I have a mountain blog which is all about the mountains and the people whose lives and loves are in them, www.lamontmag.com, and I do a lot of action photography, mainly skiing/snowboarding and mountain biking with that. I also have my workshop in Jindabyne where I make my lightboxes and run my businesses. I love the variation that my work/life offers; living in the mountains, visiting the cities, travelling and spending time outdoors, being creative and making things with my hands.
How do you source the recycled timber and old cabinet drawers for your box frames? Does someone look after this for you or are you continually hunting and gathering?
I have my favourite second hand haunts that I love to look in whenever I am in Melbourne and I shop on eBay as well. Now I’m getting contacted by suppliers and individuals that I have bought from before when they get items that they think I’d be interested in. There are some salvage yards in Melbourne and Sydney that I use to source my timbers who specialise in reclaimed timbers. www.thejunkmap, is a good source of vintage stores.
You have a range of your own images available in lightboxes, but also offer a bespoke service if people want to supply their own images. How does that work? What do your customers need to supply you?
I can make a lightbox out of any image or logo. I require a reasonable quality image, at least 2mb. I have made lightboxes from iPhone photos and also from old scanned photos.
How do you actually use a lightbox? Do they hang on the wall or sit on a shelf? Do you need any special light bulbs, fittings or equipment?
The lightbox is really just a frame with light, it adds an extra dimension to the image. I make them to sit on a shelf but they can be made to hang on the wall, with a minor adjustment. They are lit with 12 volt led lights and have a lifespan of around 50,000 hours, they come with a transformer that plugs straight into the wall. I give them a lifetime guarantee.
What’s currently inspiring you as a photographer? Do you follow anyone else’s work, and what are you enjoying shooting?
Being in the mountains I can’t wait until winter and the first snow falls of the season, it’s the prettiest thing you will ever see.
What will you be bringing along to tempt us at Bowerbird in May? Do you have any new favourite images?
I am always looking to add to my gallery of images, I’ll be bringing my camera to Adelaide. Some new lightboxes I will have in Adelaide use interchangeable acrylic letters, perfect for a personalised nursery nightlight or wedding I think.
What else is in store for Mandy Lamont and The Little Mountain Lightbox Co in 2015?
I don’t know what is in store for this year, I go wherever the path leads and I’m excited by the unknown. I am hoping for really big things this year.