Thursday, July 3, 2008

Spotlight 7 Week 19: Mark With No Hair

This week's episode of Spotlight Seven features the oddly-named Mark With No Hair, whose portraits were selected by Spotlight 7 alum Francois Coquerel. Mark is a Baltimore resident, who takes some of his best portraits of his own children and their friends. Mark talks about his subjects, the relative unimportance of the camera, "Film and digital, new and old. I love them all. I dislike talking about cameras. Painters don’t talk about their brushes, sculptors their chisels. Why do photographers care?" and his use of light. Here's a small bit from his interview.

6. Some of those pictures, especially the one in the darkness, are really strange and a bit scary, but they are at the same time family pictures, how do you deal with this?

I think the darkness is more about creating mood, experimenting with shaping or directing light or perhaps just the natural light that was available at that moment. I do tend to use the darkness or conversely the lightness in an image to create a sense of mood. Perhaps that’s cliché or trite. I don’t know. But it works sometimes. I think it is hard to develop a sense of mood in a properly lit well exposed image that is full of saturated colors. I think that’s why you see the style currently being overused by commercial photographers of over saturated, contrasty images full of grain and detail like the work of Gary Land. I don’t mean to speak ill of this style. I like it and find it very appropriate for what it is used for. But it is a technical way of combining high contrast, dark settings , mood and saturation all into one image.

Please check out Mark's portraits and his interview, and extend your thanks to Francois for choosing such a deserving artist and such great photos.

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