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Käla Mandrake

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Käla Mandrake
🏳️ Nationality
💼 Occupation
Photographer, author, producer

Käla Mandrake is an American photographer, author and producer.[1][2][3][4][5] She is best known for her black-and-white portraits of New Yorkers from various subcultures. She began photographing New York City's avant-garde East Village scene at 15 years old. Her early subjects were squatters, punks, and homeless teenagers. She later focused on local musicians and performing artists (including burlesque dancers, cabaret singers, and freak show variety acts). Mandrake began a professional photography career in 1999, providing services for musicians, actors and models to be published in magazines, newspapers, band album covers, and websites. In 2003, Mandrake went back to school and began her studies in writing, film and media, minoring in music. Although she continues her work in photography, these studies marked the beginning of a career path in writing, producing for TV and eventually the publication of her books.


Mandrake's photographs have been likened to the works of Diane Arbus and Nan Goldin. At the age of 13, her parents bought her a Ricoh 35mm film camera which she used to document the lives of her family and friends. Shortly after, she attended Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts in New York City. She auditioned and was accepted for both Music and Art, choosing a Major in Art. It was at LaGuardia that she began to study black-and-white film photography. At 16 years old, she began to explore the East Village. This is where she met and befriended squatters, punks, and runaway teenagers. She hung out in abandoned buildings and parks, photographing her new friends. She furthered her studies in photography at the School of Visual Arts and the International Center of Photography, where she worked in the darkroom and was Teacher Assistant for black-and-white darkroom classes. At 23 years old, she started a photography business for New York's avant-garde scene of artists and musicians. In 2009, Käla Mandrake finished her first photography book Underground, which consists of a compilation of portraits of people she has known over the years. In the Fall of 2010, Underground will be published and available worldwide.


Mandrake went to Hunter College in New York City to pursue an education in film and media, minoring in music. She began working as producer at BBC America from 2006-2009. In early 2009, she left BBC America and began work as post-production producer and editor at HBO in New York City. At HBO, she was one of a team of producers-editors for the HBO series, Game of Thrones launch and first season in 2011. She is currently producing a documentary on her grandfather, the illusionist Mandrake the Magician.


  1. "Interview". Daily single. 11 April 2012. Archived from the original on 14 April 2012. Retrieved 8 June 2018.
  2. Nyartsmagazine.com[permanent dead link]
  3. "Kala Mandrake - About This Person - Movies & TV - NYTimes.com". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 3 November 2012. Retrieved 14 June 2018. KALA MANDRAKE FILMOGRAPHY: A,B,C... Manhattan HAS WORKED WITH: Sara Paul A,B,C... Manhattan
  4. McGee, Jake (3 February 2011). "Kala Mandrake's Window to the Underground". Kotori Magazine. Retrieved 8 June 2017.
  5. Nypress.com[permanent dead link]

External links[edit]

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