You've seen him at numerous shows: the guy with his face half-masked by black metal and plastic, the one you know is ready at the drop of a hat to just whip it out ... his camera, that is. Frank Mullen is one of those guys. We'll call them "photographers."
Published professionally since 1992, and making his living exclusively as a photographer since 1999, Mullen has shot for Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Spin, Newsweek, Cosmopolitan and, full disclosure, Creative Loafing, among many, many other publications and books.
Mullen feels that one of the keys to his reputation as a keen concert photographer is the many years he spent in the sadly neglected Florida-based band Roach Motel. Being in a band helped him predict band members' next moves. Mullen's amazing ability to immortalize rock 'n' roll uvulas is completely unintentional, however.
One of Mullen's most frustrating subjects was not some punk like Iggy Pop, GG Allin or Henry Rollins (all several timers), or even a hip-hop star such as OutKast's Big Boi (a recent shoot). No, it was a roll of toilet paper for local rag Chunklet's "Shit List" cover. Mullen auditioned numerous rolls to get one with that je ne sais quoi.
Mullen's company is named Matte Black for a host of reasons. Following Mullen's like of black in general, Matte Black conjures up many associations: black as in black-and-white photography, black as in no light (like a photo darkroom), and matte black in artistic terms refers to a nonreflective surface. Mullen does hate, however, when people call him on the phone and ask for Matt. (For those curious, Mullen's virtual corporate headquarters and portfolio can be found at www.matteblack.com.)
Musicians might note Mullen's uncanny resemblance to Butch Vig, producer/member of the band Garbage. Apparently, Vig didn't note the resemblance the one time Mullen introduced him to local producer Dallas Austin. Several people at a Garbage in-store once asked Mullen for autographs, however.