2015 International Color Awards Nomination

2015 International Color AwardsI’m delighted to find out that my photograph ‘Alison In The Reign’ has been nominated for the 2015 International Color Awards (Professional Portraits Category).

According to the organisers there were 7,358 entries received from 79 countries this year, so it is fantastic to have been selected from such a strong field. You can see the full list of nominees and their work at the 2015 International Color Awards here. The winning work will go onto be showcased on the walls of a virtual gallery which will be going online on May 1st, 2015. All of the nominated work will go on to be published in ‘The Journal’, a digital publication featuring curated collections of award winning photography and to be released in July 2015.

The Jury for this year’s 2015 International Color Awards included Christie’s, Frieze, Whitechapel Gallery, Eyestorm, Edinburgh Film Festival, DB Agency, Gup Magazine and Art Beatus Gallery.

Mark
April 2015

Liquid Gold “Making Of…” Video

Making of Liquid GoldAfter my recent exhibit at TAMP Coffee  a lot of people asked me about how the ‘Liquid Gold’ series of metallic prints were made. The key aspect is that instead of printing with inks, each image is made using ultraviolet light on a special printer.  The resulting images go on to have a high level of detail whilst also retaining a slight degree of reflectivity. Whilst not being exactly mirror-like, there is still enough reflection in each image to make them burst with light at certain viewing angles which makes for a unique viewing experience. In addition to this it also creates a highly durable print which can even be shown both indoors and outdoors. To explain how this process works  I thought I would create a short “making of…” video to show the prints being made and the level of care that goes into creating each one of these limited edition prints.

Mark
March 2015

LightBox – The Photographic Nude 2015 Exhibition

LightBox Photographic Nude 2015This morning I was invited to exhibit at the LightBox – ‘The Photographic Nude 2015’ Exhibition this coming February.  This show is a juried exhibit exploring the artistic and creative view of the body and it’s form, whether it be a classical study or a more provocative style.

It’s a real pleasure to have some of my work, for which I’m not really known for, be selected for exhibition by guest curator Robert Gojević (founder of BLUR Magazine). The LightBox – ‘The Photographic Nude 2015’ exhibit will be running from Saturday February 14th until Saturday April 4th at LightBox’s Gallery at 1045 Marine Drive, Astoria, Oregon (+1 503-468-0238). All the selected images will be available for sale during this period and will also be featured in a forthcoming issue of BLUR Magazine.

If you would like to see more images from my chosen series ‘Waves’ series please follow this link.

Mark
January 2015

2014 ANI Coup de Coeur Nomination

Last week I was delighted to receive a Coup de Coeur nomination for the 2014 ANI – Pix Palace photography prize at this year’s VISA Pour L’Image photojournalism Festival for my photo story Bachanal Mas’s Liquid Gold.

ANI Pix Palace Photography Prize

Each year ANI (Association Nationale d’Iconographes) run open portfolio reviews at VISA Pour L’Image, which is now an integral part of the professional week and one that which many of the attending photographers take advantage of. Based on the work they see, the ANI photo editors will then award ‘Coup de Coeurs’ nominations for the best work and small selections of each nominated story are printed by Canon and exhibited at La Palais de Congrès in Perpignan. Each of the nominated stories then are further analysed in their entirety and whittled to down to a selection of three stories with the final ANI – Pix Palace Award winner being announced at the following year’s VISA Pour L’Image festival. The quality of the feedback on these reviews makes the trip to Perpignan worthwhile on its own and really helps by informing you on what to consider and concentrate on next in moving forward with your work.

This nomination was especially memorable for the fact that a selection of these images are currently on display in London (Sept-Dec) using a special direct-to-media printing process with ultra violet light. By using this technique the images have been printed directly onto sheet metal and use the base colour of the metal (in this case, gold) through the image itself. A huge thanks must go out to Frederic and Christelle at Canon France for the great work they did at this year’s VISA Pour L’Image in printing the images from this series and approximating the colour we’ve achieved on metal using photo paper. It’s not an easy task to do but it is one they pulled off beautifully.

All in all it was great week this year with many fantastic images in display throughout the town’s galleries and shops. If you have never been to VISA Pour L’Image then I would say that you should definitely add it to your list for 2015. Hopefully see you there.

Mark
September 2014

LIQUID GOLD: METAL PRINTS EXHIBITION

Mark Foxwell from Genesis Imaging inspects a metal print for the Liquid Gold exhibition.I’m delighted to announce that images from my Liquid Gold photo story on the Notting Hill carnival will on exhibition at Tamp Coffee in London from 1st September. When I originally photographed the Bachanal Mas’s dancers joyfully covering each other in gold paint an idea was born but I didn’t how to do it. Now since talking over the project with Genesis Imaging we have set about printing key photos from the story straight on to metal to create a limited edition set of unique prints. As well on being on display these special edition prints are also available to order online through the web site here.

Limited Edition Metal Prints

All of the prints are currently available for purchase in two different sizes (large – 42″x 30″ or small – 24″ x 15″) with 10% of all profits going towards the Princess Alice Hospice charity for their excellent work and care for people living with terminal illnesses in SW London, Surrey and Middlesex. Each print purchased will carry my signature, be individually hand numbered on the reverse and include a separate certificate of authenticity. Once all the prints have sold out there will be no more prints made so please act quickly if you would like to secure an early edition number.

If you would like more details about this limited edition or to see the other photos in this collection please visit the Liquid Gold prints page or contact me directly.

All the best,

Mark
August 2014

Renaissance Photography Prize 2014 Finalist

I’m delighted to hear that my photo ‘Read My Lips’ has been selected to be an exhibited finalist in the Renaissance Photography Prize 2014.

Renaissance Photography Prize 2014, Read My LipsAccording to the organisers there were almost 7,000 entries this year so it is great to have been selected in such a strong field. To see the judges final selections please go to either 2014 Finalists (Single Images) and 2014 Finalists (Series Competition). The main winner for Best Single Image and the main winner for Best series as well as the three Category Winners (Single Images) and the Runner-Up prize (Series) will be announced at the Renaissance Photography Prize 2014 awards ceremony on Wednesday 10th September.

Prints On Display in Central London

All the photos from the Renaissance Photography Prize 2014 finalists will be exhibited as prints from 8th – 20th September at the  Getty Images Galleryin central London and will be open to the public (free admissions). There will also be a champagne reception and awards ceremony on 10th September where the main winners for Best Single Image, Best Series, as well as the three Category Winners(Single Images) and the Runner-Up Prize (Series) will be announced. Tickets for the awards ceremony cost £55, with all proceeds going to The Lavender Trust at Breast Cancer Care Charity to support younger women with breast cancer. Tickets for the awards are available by contacting tickets@nullrenaissancephotography.org.

Look forward to seeing you there,

Mark
June 2014

New York Photo Festival RESOLUTION 2014 Finalist

Over the weekend I found out that I’d made it through as a finalist in the New York Photo Festival’s RESOLUTION 2014 competition and will be exhibited at at The POWERHOUSE Arena in Brooklyn NY from  March 27 – April 28, 2014.

It’s really great news to have been chosen and even more so because  both Christel and I will be in New York for the festival and opening night. I’ve never been to New York before and I’ve heard so many great things about the city so I’m majorly fired up to be going there – and obviously taking my camera with me!

RESOLUTION 2014, New York Photo FestivalThe photo they have selected is ‘Touching Distance’ from the London Gay Pride Festival of two guys kissing. I’m really pleased that this photo is being picked up as it’s one of the ones I’m most proud of. I shot it with my “live-on” lens (the Canon EOS 16-35mm f2.8) and whilst it’s not a classic portraiture lens, it really does do the job when I’m shooting away in the streets and I wouldn’t be without it.

More than the competition itself

Going to festivals, exhibitions or similar events is great but there’s always so much more to attending than the nature of the competition itself. It’s the people you meet in the shape of the judges, curators, other nominees and then people who are just plain enthusiastic about photography. Getting that detailed feedback, sharing your experiences and making good friends along the way is often the most rewarding aspect – as was certainly the case with the Art of Photography Show in San Diego last year and I hoping will be with the New York Photo Festival.

There are a couple different facets to RESOLUTION 2014 competition, where there will be a vote for the favourite image (where the winner will receive a 2 hour consultation with John Berthot, former sales director at MAGNUM and photo consultant for FOCUS), a draw for a free powerHouse Portfolio Review slot ($400) and then the Grand Prize itself of $500. So there’ll be a lot to look forward to at the opening reception on March 28 (6-8pm) where they will announce the main winner.

If you’re in the area and you can make it to the New York Photo Festival, it’d be great to see you there.

Mark
March 2014

‘Top Photography Films’ Interview

Top Photography Films. Mark Esper Interview.My interview with Kai Behrmann from the photography web site Top Photography Films has just come out and I’m really happy with the way it went. Sometimes it can be really tricky for me to articulate where I am at with my photography and where I am planning to go, but this one was a real joy to do. A huge thanks to Kai for some really inspiring and thought provoking questions.

Here’s an excerpt:

What does photography mean to you? And what do you want to transmit with your pictures? And in other words: What is it at all that a photograph can say?

Photography traps time and presents its truth in a format that really makes you consider the moments both before and after the photograph was taken. It’s a visceral reality. I’m not talking about blood and guts. I’m talking about a tactile quality where the photograph actually reaches out and touches you and holds you. For me a painting has a looser grip on time. The impression that a scene or a subject has on an artist is built up over a longer period of time. It comes across as a more reflective and considered impression of events. Photography traps time and presents its truth in a format that really makes you consider the moments both before and after the photograph was taken.

In 2013 you received a Honorarium Award at the “Art of Photography Awards”. What do you think is important to stand out with one’s work? And how did you achieve it. Especially keeping in mind the over abundance of photographic imagery in today’s society.

In a word, it has to be authenticity. The clear sense that what I am looking at is real. That this is a document of time: a photograph. Now, if that document employs light, mood and expression to create a connection where it asks a question or delivers a message – then that’s even better. You can’t connect with an image if there’s nothing to hold your gaze. The more I go on, the harsher I find myself being with my previous work but saying that, when that work is recognised as in competitions like The Art of Photography Prize, it’s deeply touching.

If you would like to read  the full interview and some other questions about my work you can see them on the Top Photography Films web site and their Facebook page.

Mark
December 2013

Reykjavik Boulevard Interview and Feature

I’m really pleased to be featured in the latest edition of Reykjavik Boulevard. For those of you not already familiar with this great arts and travel magazine, they are well worth checking out through their web site or following them on their Facebook page. In this month’s edition they are featuring both stills and video from my Desert Surfers story together with an interview we did recently.

Reykjavik Boulevard. Mark Esper Interview.With the latest edition they will also be shortly moving into the print arena and have kindly included me in their ‘Creative Guide for Curious People’ together with my award winning shot from the Art Of Photography Awards which is still on display at the San Diego Art Institute in California.

If you would like get a better idea of what drives me their interview does a great job at doing just that.

I can’t wait to see the printed edition as I know Nick and the guys at Reykjavik Boulevard have really their poured their hearts and souls into it.

All the best,

Mark
November 2013

Honoriarium Award at Art of Photography Competition 2013

On Saturday night I was deeply honoured to receive an Honorarium Award at the Art Of Photography Awards at the San Diego Art Institute in California. The competition was huge with 13,000 entries submitted from 85 countries with over a 1,000 visitors on the opening night.

There was a real diversity to the selection of 100 prints shown with many different photographic styles on display. The quality and camaraderie of the entrants and their work was equally amazing. During the opening night all of us were able to speak to visitors, answers their questions and also hear the stories behind (and further reactions to) each other’s images.

Read My Lips, Special Award winner, Art of Photography Competition 2013

On the following day we were treated to an exceptional lecture by this year’s curator and judge Julia Dolan, The Minor White Curator of Photography at the Portland Art Museum. During her talk on Contemporary Art Photography she spoke about her selection process for the show, her personal reactions to a key number of images and delivered invaluable insights for those looking to display their work in galleries or museums. It was a unique and extremely erudite experience where I learnt a lot about photography’s place within the art world.

Afterwards we visited the nearby Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA) in San Diego’s Balboa park which went on to only re-affirm my impression of San Diego being an undiscovered artistic gem with its multitude of museums and galleries.

A lasting impression

As with many trips taken to distant festivals and competitions in recent years, the conversations and friendships I have made have become the most rewarding aspect. To be able to receive an award and also be inspired by your peers can only be counted as a double blessing. My sincere thanks goes out to organiser Steven Churchill and his team for making such an amazing show and creating such a convivial atmosphere for those attending.

If you would like to visit the show

The 2013 Art Of Photography Show Competition exhibition will be on display at the San Diego Art Institute between October 12 through to November 17, 2013. All the finalists’ work will be on display for purchase. For more details about the show please visit www.artofphotographyshow.com. There are also a few of photos from the trip on my professional Facebook page here.

All the best,

Mark
October 2013

Ziv Koren’s low light workshop

On Friday night I had the pleasure of taking part in a low-light photography workshop with Canon Ambassador and World Press Photo award  winner Ziv Koren. Beforehand there was an initial presentation of Ziv Koren’s work with the Israeli military done in near complete darkness. Many of the techniques discussed and strategies shown were a real revelation to me as to what can be achieved in available light and pushing ISO speeds into previously uncharted territories.

Ziv Koren's Low-Light Photography Workshop at Visa Pour L'ImageAs part of the workshop there would be an overnight assignment to document Perpignan in only 3 images using Canon 1-DX‘s to be filed the next morning at 9:30. Roaming through the streets of Perpignan (a city I’ve already documented) with a Canon 1-DX on overnight loan from Canon CPS turned out to be a real challenge. That said, I have to say it was one of the most rewarding and insightful aspects of this VISA trip – although a little stressful with me finishing shooting at 5am in typical style.

Narrowly making the 9.30 deadline, the review, the subsequent analysis and feed back from both Ziv and Getty Images Creative Director Anthony Holland Parkin was both insightful and revealing.

Here’s my three: a scrawny street dog, a guy summoning up the courage to hit on a large lady in a bar and motorcycle kids racing through the town centre at night. If you would like to see the three as a gallery just click the photo above or here.

Whilst the open nature of the brief and time frame was a bit daunting, it proved to be an invaluable lesson about what could be achieved in low-ight and persistence. If find out that Canon are running another of these events at a festival you’re attending, then do it. The experience and feedback are well worth it.

Mark
September 2013

2013 ANI Coup de Coeur Nomination

I’m very pleased to find out that I have been given a Coup de Coeur nomination for the 2013 ANI Pix Palace prize at this year’s VISA Pour L’Image photojournalism Festival for my photo story ‘Repton’s Rules‘.

Repton's Rules, 2013 ANI Coup de Coeur Nomination

ANI (Association Nationale d’Iconographes) do sterling work each year with their open portfolio reviews at VISA and the quality of the feedback makes the trip to Perpignan worthwhile on its own. A lot of the time you find yourself working in isolation in developing stories and it can be hard to find a perspective from which to judge your work. It’s so helpful then to get constructive and professional feedback from portfolio reviews with working photo editors who can inform you on how you are progressing and highlighting any areas that that need tightening up or particular attention.

I’ve been going to VISA Pour L’Image professional week for four years now and each year it just keeps giving back so much more in terms of the friendships you make, the networking possibilities it affords you and the feedback you receive – and this year wasn’t any different. It was so good to see friends like Niklas Meltio (VISA D’Or Daily News Award) and Magda Rakita (Ian Parry Scholarship, Highly Commended) who are now getting the recognition they deserve and taking their careers to the next level.

If you haven’t been to VISA Pour L’Image I would strongly recommend you do, both for the amazing images you will see and experiences you will have.

Mark
September 2013

2013 Freshfields Photography Prize Finalist

I’m delighted to say that one of my photographs has been shortlisted for the new Freshfields Photography Prize created by law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. The shortlist of 10 images has been chosen from the 2013 Renaissance Photography Prize finalists.

Renaissance Photography Prize 2013

The winner will be voted for by the firm’s 4,500 international staff with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer matching each vote cast  with a £1 donation to The Lavender Trust at Breast Cancer Care Charity. I’m particularly pleased to hear that the judging criteria was based on images that “they personally found particularly striking or engaging”.

The selected photo was from my set on the London Gay Pride Festival of two men kissing which will be exhibited as a print from 3rd – 7th September at the Wapping Project Bankside. Tickets for the awards ceremony cost £55, with all proceeds going to The Lavender Trust at Breast Cancer Care Charity to support younger women with breast cancer. Tickets for the awards are available by contacting tickets@nullrenaissancephotography.org.

Mark
August 2013

Art of Photography Competition 2013 Award Winner

I’m seriously happy to find out that I have been awarded a Special Prize in the 2013 Art of Photography Competition in San Diego, CA. especially so quickly after being chosen as a finalist in the Renaissance Photography Prize.

Read My Lips, Special Award winner, Art of Photography Competition 2013

I’m doubly pleased because of the choice of photo by this year’s judge (Julia Dolan, The Minor White Curator of Photography at the Portland Art Museum). The photo of Kiarash Bahari opposite has always had a special quality for me; the calmness of his eyes contrasting with the horrific nature of his sewn-together lips always glues me to the expression on his face. Taken in the doorway of the tent where he was hunger striking with fellow Iranian dissidents, it has a tranquil air which is at odds with the slow descent into starvation he and his companions were embarked upon. I’m just glad that his ordeal (and that of his fellow hunger strikers) is now over and that they have been granted asylum status in the UK.

As with a lot of my work trust is key. It takes time to form relationships and build that essential trust, particularly when the surrounding circumstances are so grim. Familiar arguments fly around your head as you bring the viewfinder up to your eye. Is this exploitative or a sober recording of events? Should I be doing this? This much is clear.  This man is dying and it is happening. He wants his reasons to be known and even though picture editors at that time were only interested in royal wedding photos, I still kept taking the shots and documenting their story.

I’m glad to say that hunger strike ended before there was any loss of life. All of those involved had their cases reviewed and were granted asylum in the UK. If you would like to see a fuller set of photographs from this story you can see them here.

The Art of Photography Competition

Now in its 9th year the Art of Photography Competition exhibition will be held in the San Diego Art Institute between October 12 through November 17, 2013. All the finalists’ work will be on display for purchase. An Opening Reception Gala is planned for October 12th at 6pm with award presentations and a free 80 page catalogue for those attending.

I’ve never been to San Diego before and heard good things about it so I’m really looking forward to this trip.

If you’re there please come and say hello.

Mark
July 2013

Renaissance Photography Prize 2013 Finalist

This morning I was delighted to hear that one of my photos has been selected for the Renaissance Photography Prize 2013.

Renaissance Photography Prize 2013The photo they have selected is one from my set on the London Gay Pride Festival of two men kissing. I’m really pleased that this image has been chosen as I always felt it had a lot of power visually for being only a spontaneous, instinctive shot of a couple on a dance floor.

I was using a wide angle lens that day so I was close to them as it looks. Shots like these are only possible if the subjects around you are relaxed with you being there so I’m very grateful for the trust that was given from everyone around. It’s so much about attitude and the way you carry yourself and I’ve been very fortunate to have many unpaid tutors push and nudge me in the right direction when it comes to this.

Exhibition in Central London

Now in its sixth year all the photos from the Renaissance Photography Prize finalists will be exhibited as prints from 3rd – 7th September at the Wapping Project Bankside (which is a stone’s throw from the Tate Modern on London’s Southbank). There will be a champagne reception and awards ceremony on 5th September where the main winners for Best Single Image, Best Series, as well as the three Category Winners(Single Images) and the Runner-Up Prize (Series) will be announced. Tickets for the awards ceremony cost £55, with all proceeds going to The Lavender Trust at Breast Cancer Care Charity to support younger women with breast cancer. Tickets for the awards are available by contacting tickets@nullrenaissancephotography.org.

Look forward to seeing you there,

Mark
June 2013

Back To The Future

I Am Bachanal Mas. 13.jpgWelcome to the new web site. After a long time in the coming I’ve decided to act upon all the bits of advice that has been offered over the last four years (i.e. be on twitter, be on facebook and so on.) So now that it’s here, what’s different?

For those of you that can remember my last web site, it was mainly just photographs; a big long strip of them with very little text to speak of. What I wanted to do with this one was make it more engaging – because that seems to be at the heart of todays’s social media revolution – the ability to share engaging content. Sharing is great but it asks for something more than just “here’s a nice photograph, have a look”. It asks for something deeper. The story behind the photograph, the point it’s trying to make and a glimpse into the photographer’s thinking. So that’s meant lots of writing – which for me was something of a joyful re-union. Despite having spent a lot of my time avoiding it, particularly at school where it felt like an obligation, writing is now something else; the ability to use words and adjectives to compliment the tone, colour and composition of my photographs. I can’t guarantee the writing will always be good – that’s for you to decide – but it will be there.

Raising the dead

Whenever I set out editing photographs – of which I knew there was going to be a lot to do in the making of this site – I also knew it was going be painful. There are always going to be lots of casualties as your darlings are piled up and killed off in the name of quicker download times, and more importantly, holding onto a viewer’s interest. However this editing process also forced me to confront my back catalogue. Photographs that have laid dormant on various hard drives waiting for a day when they could come out into the sun. The ‘Liquid Gold‘ photo story about the Bachanal Mas carnival band is a case in point. Shot on the day before I made my first pilgrimage to VISA Pour L’Image, it’s been nagging me ever since. I had suffocated it like some many other photo stories for fear that it might not be as good as it had initially felt. Years pass, more shots get taken and for the most part what you’d previously thought was great generally suffers with the passing of time. However I always thought those dancers smeared in gold might look great printed in black and gold (as opposed to black and white). As it turns out they do so it’s case of new work found in old clothes. As a result I’ve been back-to-the future a fair bit in making this web site and brought out some other previously forgotten photo stories into the sunlight.

Sharing projects in development

After looking at a lot of other photographer’s sites I decided I wanted to do something different: I wanted to create a discussion. It really feels like the internet has brought the world closer in a very short space of time. Now photographers can now show their work online, 24/7, 365 days a year to what was a previously unattainable, global audience. That’s great but what about using the internet to work together instead of working in isolation? Photography could be justly described as a spectator sport and you can feel pretty isolated developing a story so I thought I’d take a chance. Normally photographer’s web galleries only show finished work but I’ve decided to publish a ‘Work In Progress‘ one as well.

Photo stories can sometimes be months (even years) in the making and during that time nobody knows what you’re doing -which can be a good thing if you are breaking a new story – but also a bad thing if at the expense of not gaining other people’s help. So I thought I’d put some stories out there that are still in mid development. Maybe a writer, journalist, editor or even print collector might be interested. Maybe not. -Who knows? But to my way of thinking, too many images sat on a hard drive can easily go sour whilst waiting for the bottle to be poured. So let’s see.

And finally

Before I wrap up this first post a huge thanks must go out to Kieron Jansch, Chris Vika, Daniel Hubbert, Christel Stol and Magdalena Bak-Maier for all their help and advice during the building of this web site. I’m not a born coder and regularly struggled putting this together but fortunately I had their talents to fall back on.

Thanks for reading and I hope you like what you see. If you want to get in touch by all means contact me here through the web site or a leave a comment on the blog posts.

All the best,

Mark
April 2013