Mark Gardner – Maryland

24 09 2007

“Different is the difference” is how Mark Gardner describes his work and when you view his images you’ll see he definitely lives up to that statement. Mark produces unique & contemporary images and prides himself for working closely with his clients and paying careful attention to detail.

Mark Gardner

Thanks to Mark for providing us with his interview & some incredible images to post here on DBUI. You can visit Mark’s new web portfolio or his blog to view more of his work.

How do you keep yourself motivated & your photography fresh?

My motivation comes from my clients, they’ve seen my work and chose me over hundreds of other photographers. They expect something different, they expect fun and cool images that say something about themselves, reinforcing the idea of who they are, or perhaps they want images to show something not obvious or unknown about themselves. So working with my clients and listening to them, get me motivated to produce

I never thought of my photography as ‘fresh’, but OK. I work very hard at seeing things that they (my clients) can’t see, or in a way that they wouldn’t expect someone else to see it. I’m always looking for lines, light/shadows, colors, and textures that provide something unique to include into a photograph.

What (or who) has inspired, & continues to inspire, your work?

It’s difficult to nail down my inspirators (is that a word), but to look past the profession of photography, I get real inspiration guys like the late SGT Pat Tilman who was so selfless that not only did he give up millions playing pro football to serve his country, but he made the ultimate sacrifice doing just that…what he believed in.

I am also inspired by success. True success. Success through trial and error. While it’s great to get it right the first time, there is no lesson there, there is no character built off of a first-time-go. This leads to a friend who also happens to be a photographer, John Michael Cooper of AltF Photography. If you heard his story of success, you’d be impressed. JMC has always just kept doing what it was he loved, regardless of what people thought or said, he stayed true to himself and what he believed in, and through his failures…success…that is inspiring!

What was it that first drew you to take up photography?

It was the money! No kidding.

I had always been a ‘picture taker’. I mean I loved getting the film back from the lab and hated the results. So I decided to learn more, to learn how, and why, all those questions that would come into my head when I did not see in print what I saw with my eyes and my mind. Fast forward 10 years, my intrest in photography and computers came together, this is when the learning truly began for me. I’m a learn-as-I-do kinda guy, and I realized that all those books just contributed to a good nights sleep rather than any sort of education or photo-related problem solving.

So, anyway, people loved my pictures of people. Somewhere after shooting couple of weddings for no pay(just for the fun of it), and a few grip-and-grin jobs for little cash, I got the crazy idea that I could actually make money doing this. Here I am nearly 10 years from that first digital camera, living the life I NEVER dreamed of.

What advice do you have for other photographers that may feel they’re stuck in a creative rut with their work?

While I was attending the Drill Sergeant Academy at Ft. Leavenworth KS, one of my drill instructors told me, “when your about to have a breakdown, hang on, your about to have a breakthough”. Whis kinda reminded me of the old saying, when the going gets tough, the tough get going.
So my advice is to other photographers would be, keep pushing, keep trying, keep going, keep failing, because all of these experiences build and reinforce not only who you are, but how you see things, and ultimately you will breakthough and find success. True success.

Name one thing your client should know about you. Name one thing other photographers should know about you.

Any client of mine, needs to know that I’ll do most anything, and go to most any length to capture the images they expect, and with my absolute best effort at a customer experience like no other.

Photographers need to know that I do not see them as my competition. I view all photographers as colleagues, many as friends. After all, clients hire me for me. They simply will hire somebody else if my work(or personality) do not fit their vision of what their photographer should be.

Which photographer would you like to shoot with for a day & why?

Given the opportunity, I think shooting with Sergio would be an excellent opportunity. Knowing Sergio for a few years now, I’ve seen such personality in his images and feel that watching him interact with couples, I could pick up a few things. But that’s not all, his image selections are always top-notch, watching him go through a complete edit would be an awesome experience as well. So, Sergio, if you are reading this, you have my number!

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5 responses

24 09 2007
domanico

Awesome shots. I love the one with the dove and the couple holding hands!

25 09 2007
susanne

wow great photos! very creative!

27 09 2007
Jason Domingues

Hey Mark,

Great shots man. I can’t wait to shoot with you again!

JD

27 09 2007
markeric

Great interview Mark- I always enjoy hearing your insight.

30 09 2007
nemesis

a very beautiful collection u got there. inspirational i must say

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