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Manaka | by Peter Grifoni
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The day was getting on and I made a snap decision to lead us down Enmore Road which runs adjacent to King Street and has a slightly different feel to it.

It wasn’t long before it paid dividends when Manaka and her friend walked past us. I immediately spun round and approached them as to hesitate within this group can mean you will miss out.


Both Manaka and her friend (sorry his name escapes me) were both very relaxed by my request and we quickly searched for a suitable light background to contrast against her gorgeous skin.


Out came the reflector held in place by my ever vigilant wife and I fired off some frames in a fairly restricted space. As I was looking through the lens and Manaka followed my instructions with ease I could sense that I was shooting a seasoned professional here as her expressions were perfectly relaxed and very focused. Someone knew her stuff when in front of the lens!


I asked about her prominent tattoo that runs across her chest and she said that it has no real meaning except that she always knew that she needed something like it since she was young. We exchanged details and as they were keen to move on I emailed her later in the week to get a bit of a bio from her.


In the meantime I searched for her online and found her clothing store that she owns.

Manaka is one very talented woman, not only does she design all her clothing, leather accessories and jewellery, but she also models her amazing creations and she looks stunning in whatever she wears. Here’s the link


Below is her reply email;

My name is Manaka and that is the name of my clothing label also. Making wearable pieces of art is my passion and I love all things off beat, handmade and nature friendly... Growing up with a grandmother who was a seamstress and a mother who also sewed, I started crafting and making clothes from a very young age.

My career as a designer did not start till 6years ago whilst I was still living in London when I started an online shop selling clothing I would hand make in my studio.


I try to infuse my work with the colourful spirit in which I live my life, creating pieces that hopefully capture imaginations and more. The design components of my work make use of my frequent travels and I love making use of fabrics I can find locally wherever I am at the time.

Growing up with a mother who was a jet setter, many cultures influenced my upbringing. Even now as an adult, I am always changing my location and also my practice, yet I am consistent in my work ethic and my devotion to my story. It is demanding to be in constant motion and to feel a need to live such an artistically adventurous life, but for me it is a need and I am an individual who thrives when lost in the deep.


I guess that says it all.


Most will know I’m not a big fan of B&W portraits but when I was playing round with the final 3 portraits I was quite impressed how they looked in monotone. So I’m going against my head saying “go colour” and going with my gut by posting the black and white version.


Thanks Manaka for contributing to the Human Family Project.


This is portrait #24 in my Human Family project.

Find out more about the project and see pictures taken by other photographers at The Human Family Group



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Taken on August 13, 2016