A project maker.
Last Friday I talked to Mark Reierson, who I have got to know through The Arcanum cohort for street photography. We are apprentices to Valerie Jardin. Just recently Mark completed his project on making 100 portraits of strangers.
Interestingly Mark started this project to give him something to photograph during his lunch break, unlike others that would start a project to add to their photography portfolio! He openly admits that at times he wishes he was closer to a more populated city, a more vibrant one similar to New York or London. But it is worth noting that Calgary, Canada, where Mark is from, is growing, is well populated and things are changing drastically, with what appears to be a lot of money coming into the region. This all bodes well for the street photographers. Mainly in that with a more populated town or city, you get more activity and a lot of diversity with the people.
Marks project was started as I said, mainly for him to do something with his camera, at lunch time, when he was out of the office. He soon realised that his best option for this with his Canon DSLR was to use the 'nifty fifty' lens. He found that by using this sort of equipment he was taken seriously, as he introduced himself, set up a discussion and then asked to take their portrait. This is one thing that I have found since staring my own 100 project. You have to start or create the conversation, as this opens up the opportunities for you. Just taking the image and walking away creates a totally different meaning or aspect to an image. That type of shot becomes candid and you can see there is a divide or lack of contact between photographer and subject. He still finds it difficult to make the contact with an individual even after 100 images. But he remained committed to the project. It was after making 25 images that realised he could complete the task. The way that Mark has set up the images is interesting when you visit his site'. Because he describes each individual, their story and where it was taken. The majority of the images are taken in the 'Downtown' district of Calgary.
Although Mark couldn't think of a favourite photographer during the interview he later emailed me to say that if their was one that he most admires and that he takes inspiration from it would be Yousuf Karsh. Take the time to check out the work of Karsh and you will see why this photographer resonates with Mark.
So, on completion of this mammoth 100 portraits of strangers project, Mark proceeded to upload his images sometime 10 a day to a social network site, with no real intention apart from getting the project noticed. Shortly after this he was contacted and asked if he would be interested to add similar content - image and text - to a Humans of Calgary project! And so the project continues.
Thanks for joining me Mark.
Until next time : "Leave your camera bag at home'
The all important links:
For Mark Reierson