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I started photography when I was 18 working at a solar observatory as a summer job. I used my meagre earnings to buy my first Nikon and had unlimited access to film and a darkroom for a full summer. Over the years I shot primarily beauty and nature but always had a concern about the overall aesthetic of the image and took classes in photography, colour theory, figure drawing and even story writing. I'm drawn to complexity, story and drama so lately I've been increasingly drawn into editorial fashion photography which I believe to be one of the most challenging styles to do correctly.
I'm told I light and compose exceptionally well and have a certain edginess and intensity to my work.
Would you like to complete our full Editorial interview or skip straight to uploading your photos? (12 more interview questions).
Our readers would love to get to know you more Mark. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you?
I come from a family where the men are scientists and the women artists. Over the years I went the science root primarily but always had an interest in the arts particularly photography. Now I plan to focus primarily in that area. I find that the arts and sciences can work together very harmoniously and feel no conflict going between the two. They are both highly creative acts.
Mark, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Photographer?
My passions are women, art, natural beauty and science. And I'm trying to fashion my life to be at the intersection of those four areas. Editorial fashion obviously captures the first 3 but there can be a lot of science in photography as well and that can help give precision and an attention to details that others may miss.
Who is your inspiration in life Mark? How do you keep inspired?
My parents gave me an environment where creativity, independent thinking and confidence in one's abilities were a given. I have a few close friends who provide me with the inspiration I need.
We all make mistakes Mark, we wish we could take back. Please tell us about a time being a Photographer, you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
I had a makeup artist that acted in an unprofessional manner that I continued to work with much longer than I should have. I should have cut it off quicker and saved some damage to my reputation. Not a big thing but I cut off people who are unprofessional and unreliable much faster now.
Mark, when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Photographer, how do you go about prioritizing your clients’ needs?
I work with the clients to see who really needs what by when. Often a partial delivery can take off a lot of pressure.
Please tell us, Mark, about a time you had to be very strategic in order to meet all your top priorities as a Photographer?
You trim down to the most important immediate objectives, pick your primary objective and focus on it till it's knocked down then move to the next. I've read numerous studies that say multitasking is never the most efficient way to do something.
Mark, please give us an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
I told a fashion stylist I had a bunch of ideas for amazing photoshoots. She halfheartedly asked for some examples. I basically gave her maybe a few half sentence starts of ideas, she filled them in with her ideas and we've been shooting ever since. That was a couple years ago.
Mark, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Photographer. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
The most recent was driving back from a location scouting trip with a stylish and realizing that we have a complex editorial fashion shoot coming up with perhaps a team of 9 people, a clothing designer and a hired location and me as the photographer. Our projects are getting bigger fast.
Mark, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
I'm a big believer in happy accidents. I often shoot many candids or sometimes when the model isn't fully ready. Sometimes this annoys them but often some of the best shots come this way. Also sometimes a strobe fails to fire and you look at the shot and it worked so you leave it off for a few. Or I tell someone why a certain pose doesn't work, shoot it and it works. You got to be ready for that.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Photographer?
Study all aspects of your style of photography. All the elements need to come together to make a truly compelling image. Study art, know your equipment and study other images. Learn from your mistakes, sometimes shoot randomly or in ways that are 'wrong' so you can find those happy accidents.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state what type of collaboration you are looking for?
I'm interested in all forms of collaboration.
Now for the best part Mark! Please upload 5-10 photos so we can get to see your work.
Mark Slater @blueslate