Mark Harris is a prolific commercial fashion photographer from New Zealand and is our latest StarNow competition winner. Despite Mark’s crazy hectic schedule we were delighted when he agreed to complete an in-depth spotlight interview for Urbanity Chic. Read on to discover how Mark has embraced digital photography in his work, what his career highlights been and what its like living in New Zealand.
Q: How did you get into professional photography?
I initially got into photography when I was working as a landscaper in Sydney, Australia around 1990-92. Later in the 90’s I spent some time in the NZ mountains trying to figure what to do with my life I decided it was now or never, so started looking into the business side of photography. And now here I am, 20 odd years later.
Q: What do you enjoy most photographing?
It’s endless, there’s no limit to the creativity, it’s just so expansive. You can learn all your life and still not know it all. But amidst all of this there is this simplicity to it, we can be as extravagant as we like, or as simplistic as we like, the trick is making either work so it’s visually pleasing.
Q: How was 2010 for you?
A great year for me, I’ve been living back in NZ for 3-4 years now and it feels like everything is starting to come together now. I have some great clients and am totally looking forward to the future.
Q: Who inspires you?
Everyone and everything. Is that a cliché? I know we’ve heard it before, but really there’s so much beautiful work out there these days and it is just so inspiring. Photographers, filmmakers, retouchers, make up artists, hair designers, models, collaborations, artists. I’m also inspired by light, I love light and love working with it, it’s a beautiful thing!
Q: Which modern day fashion designers or fashion icons do you look up to?
The odd ones, the crazy ones. The ones who push the limits of design even if they’re not well known.
Q: What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
Someone who can see light & composition, who can see an end result in their mind prior to shooting. And who knows their equipment good enough to create the image they see in their mind’s eye.
Q: Do you prefer using film cameras or digital?
Digital. It’s opened us up to a whole new level of creativity, if you embrace it then you think about it as part of the shoot when you’re designing how to create your final result. I love it!
Q: Do you prefer to shoot on location or in the studio?
No preference, I love being on location, but also find in the studio I can get a lot more technically exact. When we’re on location there’s natural elements that change all the time, I love that and think it pushes my limits as a photographer, whereas in the studio nothing changes unless we want it changed, so we have ultimate control.
Q: Do you have an interesting stories about a particular photo shoot you’d like to share?
There’s a story for every shoot I’m sure, nothing comes to mind though.
Q: Do you have a specific style of photography that makes you unique?
Who knows, I leave that up to others to see although I’ve been told I do. I shoot how I shoot, depending what the client requires. I think knowledge is key, with knowledge we can do what we have to for a desired effect. I’m not sure one can really say that a photographer has a style, look at Richard Avedon- Amazing, and so many different styles which keep crossing over to create more.
Q: Do you have a favourite photograph?
I couldn’t possibly choose only one.
Q: Who is your favourite photographer?
All of them.
Q: Is there anybody you would like to work with (either behind or in front of the camera)?
Everyone who’s mind-blowingly creative, if only we had enough time!
Q: What does fashion mean to you?
Portrayal of personality through personal taste from both the creator and the wearer.
Q: How would you define your personal style?
Q: Where are you based?
Q: What’s it like being where you’re from?
Amazing! The landscape here is incredible and so versatile for imagery. As with anywhere there is loops & hurdles, but they can be overcome.
Q: What’s been the highlight of your career to date?
I traveled extensively for 7 years as a professional photographer; this would be top of my list. Another would be the ongoing campaigns we shoot twice a year for one of our clients.
Q: What are you hoping to achieve in 2011?
Another client like in the last question, or three!
Q: What do you do to relax?
Hang with my wife and dog, go surfing or snowboarding, walk along the beach.
Q: What songs are on your iPod at the moment?
Dave Matthews Band, Shihad, Offspring, I Am Giant, Young MC, Mark Knight, Ferry Ultra & Roy Ayers.
Q: Do you have interesting hobbies?
Surfing & snowboarding.
Q: If you could give a little piece of advice for aspiring photographers what would it be?
Knowledge is key, what you put in you get out, Keep going and don’t give up!
Q: What motivates you to do what you do?
Playing with light, I can’t get enough of it, and I get all buzzy when I get a good image for all sorts of crazy reasons!
Editor’s Note: Mark’s varied portfolio of work demonstrates that he can pick a mood and look to suit a client’s needs whilst still maintaining an individual and creative style.
If you’d like to learn more about or contact Mark Harris just follow the links below:
twitter link: www.twitter.com/markharrisphoto
facebook link: www.facebook.com/markharris.photographer
web page link: www.markharris.co.nz