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.

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.

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,

November 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,

April 2013