Speaking in the language of light with Mamadi Doumbouya

Speaking in the language of light with Mamadi Doumbouya

28 June, 2019

Written by: Allan Weitz

When you grow up in a country with 20 spoken languages and you only speak 4 of them you quickly learn how to communicate beyond the parameters of the spoken word. For Mamadi Doumbouya, photography has proven to be his venue of choice. 

Mamadi got his first camera back in 2013 when he was in high school. The pictures he took of friends proved to be so popular he was asked to shoot all of the senior portraits for his graduating class. He didn’t get paid but he admittedly learned a lot in the process.

Since arriving in New York City from his native Guinea, the fruit of his efforts as a portrait lifestyle photographer and storyteller have appeared in the pages of The New York Times Magazine, GQ, Instyle Magazine, Rolling Stone, Bloomberg Businessweek, Vanity Fair, Refinery29, Port Magazine, The New Yorker, Vulture, and other publications.

Mamadi was part of the contingency of photographers who traveled up to Alaska this past September courtesy of Profoto where they where introduced to the new Profoto B10 Off-Off-Camera Flash system. Already the owner and frequent user of over a half-dozen Profoto B1x flash units, he was eager to learn about Profoto’s newest compact Off-Camera flash system.

One of the key reasons he was interested in the new B10 was size and light output. Mamadi loves shooting with his B1x flash units, but sometimes the finds them to be overkill. A smaller, but equally able light source would be a welcome addition to his present flash system, especially if it was fluidly compatible with his Profoto B1x flash system. The B10 checked all the right boxes.

Compared to the B1x, which itself is attractively sized, the B10 is smaller. Regardless, it still packs a mighty punch at full power with the ability to reduce the output down to 1/10th-power as needed. For fine-tuning your light, the B10 features a continuous LED light option, which also comes in handy when shooting video.

Mamadi makes good use of the Profoto OCF Softbox Octa, and he’s particularly fond of the Profoto OCF Zoom Reflector, and especially his Profoto OCF Grid Sets, which he often gels when shooting his colorful signature portraits.

Mamadi has since integrated his Profoto B10 into his existing lighting system. He finds it especially valuable as an accent light when working with his more powerful B1x lamp heads, though he has used his B10s as main light for smaller, simpler shooting scenarios. The fact he can shoot a magazine cover using nothing more than a pair of B10s with small soft boxes and stands - a system that he can easily pack in a single, small bag, is something Mamadi finds incredibly invaluable.

To see more of Mamadi Doumbouya’s work, visit his website and Instagram page.

Written by: Allan Weitz

Products used in this story

OCF Softbox Octa

Ideal for flattering portraits, used with off-camera flashes

OCF Zoom Reflector

Adds power to our flat fronted lights

OCF Color Gel Starter Kit

A kit with a Grid and Gel Holder and 10 popular gels

OCF Color Effects Gel Pack

A gel wallet including 20 gels for color effects