26 year old Mason Endres from Austin, Texas has a strong passion for photography, whether it be shooting gigs, taking photos at a wrestling event, or just anything she finds interesting – she has a real love and drive for it. Other then being engulfed by her obsession with photography, Mason spends her days working in marketing for the North American HQ of a global prosthetics and orthotics company which she really enjoys doing. When she’s not busy working or taking photos she is usually attending a show as a huge music nerd or on a road trip somewhere as she loves to travel.
We are so thrilled to be able to feature Mason this year for Women’s History Month. Check out the interview below!
Tell us how you first got into photography?
Growing up, I remember getting my first Canon point and shoot cameras and setting up Bratz Dolls and Barbies as models (I recently even found those cameras, they don’t work anymore, haha). I had always been a creative kid—I even won “most creative” for my Senior Class (still don’t 100% know why, but I’ll take it).
But no one could have come up with how I really landed in photography until it happened. On March 13, 2014, I was involved in the SXSW incident where a driver broke through barricades on a closed road and drove through the crowd, killing four people and injuring about two dozen, including myself. I had lots of injuries and ended up in the hospital for three weeks. The recovery process was long, and I had to make the tough decision at 18 years old to skip my first semester of college to focus on one more surgery and all of the physical therapy that followed. Needless to say, I fell into a pretty bad depression watching my friends leave town and start their lives post-high school. To facilitate some purpose and give me a hobby, my parents got me my first DSLR – a Canon Rebel T5i. It was game over from there. I took the camera with me everywhere, made my friends model for me, and eventually, people asked to pay me for my work (a wild concept to me!). I eventually upgraded to a Canon 5D Mark III after my first year at college, and one of my best friends held onto the first camera that changed everything for me (shoutout to Drew!). From there, I started shooting shows, more friends, bands, strangers, and anything that would let me point a camera at it in Austin. I took my skills into work while employed at an ad agency and got to shoot for brands like Amstel and Southwest Airlines. Other opportunities allowed me to even shoot Houston Pride for Mac Cosmetics which is still one of the most magical experiences I’ve been able to be a part of. After I was done with school and transitioning into working full time, my kick ass boss at the time encouraged me to take a month off of work and travel. My longtime buds in the band Jared & The Mill (now Wheelwright), were confident enough in my ability to let me hop in their van as they wrapped up a cross-country tour. It is forever the best thing I’ve ever done and I will never be able to thank that crew enough for believing in me since day one.
When the pandemic started, I lost all creative drive and any business that was headed my way. I ended up picking up my dad’s Pentax ME that he passed down and decided it was time to give in to shooting film and it helped me fall in love with photography all over again. At the same time, I started giving in to the inevitable fate of becoming a professional wrestling fan because my partner has been a fan for 15+ years, and it was one of the only forms of entertainment that kept going amidst Covid. I promised myself as soon as events started again, my camera would be coming with me.
And here we are today, I’m slowly but surely taking my talents to the wrestling world. I can confidently say I’ve never been in a community that is so passionate and creative, and it absolutely bleeds into what fuels me to be in that community.
Who are some women photographers who really inspired you?
Classic answers, Vivian Maier, Imogen Cunningham
Katrina Barber, Melanie Romero, Jessica Torres, Sofie Vasquez, Lydia Hudgens, Sydney Claire, Britt Von Bossy, Heather Favell, and so many more!
How do you manage your time between a day job and being a photographer?
I stopped forcing myself to be busy all the time making work I didn’t fully believe in. I got really burnt out when I relied on photography for extra income in college and the pandemic provided a break to re-evaluate my relationship with photography. I have stronger boundaries with myself and the work I seek out or accept. I also have a day job that doesn’t leave me creatively drained to the point that I don’t want to take photos. That has allowed for way more creativity and time to focus on things I truly enjoy and care about.
How did you get interested in wrestling photography, how did you get started with that and do you have an end goal?
I spoke to this a little bit in the question about getting into photographer, but to elaborate… My partner, Cameron, has been a longtime wrestling fan and would watch a lot when we first started dating, and I thought it was so silly. Eventually I started asking more questions and we watched GLOW and some other wrestling documentaries that showed the storytelling and creativity that goes on behind the scenes. And something clicked! I was like, oh, okay, I get it. These people are branding, marketing, storytelling, creative geniuses. We had gone to a few indie shows in early 2020, but when the pandemic hit, WWE and AEW were basically our sources of entertainment and I just dove head first into being a fan. I promised myself my camera would be coming with me when we started going to shows again! And that, I did! Cameron has been my biggest fan and encouragement as I’ve gotten into it. He helps me step out of my comfort zone to make cool stuff happen.
I have to give a huge shoutout to the folks at Mission Pro Wrestling based here in Texas for giving me my first shot at ringside photography. They took a chance on me when I was throwing myself out there and I am so excited for the waves they are making in the world of women’s wrestling! I’ve never been in a community where I feel so seen and represented in all aspects of the promotion they have built.
What would you say to young women who wanted to get into wrestling photography?
Please do it. Please share your perspective and creative ability in the industry. We need you and your talents represented and there has never been a better time in wrestling to join. It is a truly transformative time and the future of wrestling—especially women’s wrestling—is so bright!
You’ve said that you also enjoy film photography – what is your favourite photo you have taken on film and what does it mean to you?
This is probably the hardest question you could have asked!
There’s this one photo I took in Salem, MA at Salem Willows. It’s a little, bright blue shack, I think that sells tickets of some sort during busy season, maybe? It’s right next to the beach and a kind of boardwalk-style arcade and food situation. It’s a special place to people I love, and I feel very lucky to know it. The photo is bright and simple and just means a lot to me because of who was with me when I took it.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Hopefully still finding new ways of falling in love with taking photos wherever I am at. I hope I still have a career that allows me to do that. I hope by then I’ve travelled to more places that I haven’t crossed off the list yet. I’d like to think I’ll have built a cool house in the next 5 years so I can have my own studio space for all of my little creative endeavors. I hope that the last 8 years of photography was just me getting started.