A few months ago I happened upon an interesting site while searching for erotic photographers. It was for the final issue of an online mag by an amazing photographer. I thought it was sad that his magazine was ending until I read on and realized he was moving into photo book projects. He asked for suggestions on the themes and of course I submitted Romance. Imagine my surprise (and glee) when he chose my theme for his first book! Help me in welcoming Patrick Mark.
How long have you been capturing the world around you,
either professionally or from the first time you picked up a camera?
I first picked up a camera in high school. I was lucky enough to learn shooting from my yearbook instructor, an old pro with the patience to answer question after question. My candid shots of basketball players caught the eye of our town's local newspaper and soon I was on their team of sports photographers. Funny thing, my shots of the actual game never made it into the sports section. Instead, it was the anguish on the faces of players and coaches that always made the cut. It seems capturing men was 'my thing' even as a teen. I eventually dropped still cameras for a career in television and video. It would be 16 years before I shot another still frame.
After I moved to Austin in 2004, I picked up my first digital camera: a cheap Sony I bought at a pawnshop for forty bucks. I had the idea to ask men on Manhunt if they wanted better pictures for their profiles. I did it just for the experience, but before I knew it, I was back in the business of photographing men. Those personal pics eventually lead to a few local magazine covers, a calendar with a global distributor, my own web magazine and now, a new fitness photo service. All while I still work in TV.
What/who is your favorite subject? Do you find humans difficult or intriguing to shoot?
My favorite subject is actually non-human. My eye gravitates toward the texture found in nature. Grass, trees; there is ultimate beauty found growing all around us...naturally. It doesn't have to put on make-up, work out; it is just what it is. I think that carries over into my work with men. My aesthetic tends to have a natural feel with an emphasis on texture.
As for humans, I do find us an intriguing subject. I absolutely love the psychology of male photography. When I work with guys who are new to modeling, there is an interesting transformation that happens; a switch that flips when the lens comes out. A guy can be the most timid person but as the shoot begins, this sensuality takes over and an entirely new man appears. It’s crazy what happens right in front of your eyes. However, the intrigue can be lost when you work with a model that doesn’t connect with you. That can be difficult.
If you could choose any one person in history, alive or dead, to do a full photo shoot of, who would it be and why?
Actor James Dean. The man couldn't take a bad shot. A classic in every sense: expressive eyes, the face and the body language.
Do you have a fantasy location you would love to shoot? If so, is there a specific subject to go along with it?
Hmm, that's a tough choice but I'm going with
Stonehenge. The simplicity and structure
of that mystic place has some amazing possibilities. As for a subject, I would love to feature
either ginger model Seth Fornea or former Playgirl Man of the Year, Derrick
Davenport. Derrick is someone I still
see as the classic male figure, handsome and sculpted. Seth's red hair and muscular physique would
be a natural fit for the bold, lush environment surrounding Stonehenge.
Patrick is currently working on a fabulous photo book project. From his website:
The One Man Challenge:
Each month, I will take suggestions from readers, Facebook friends, anyone with an idea for a photo shoot. It can be one prop, one theme, one message, whatever is in your head (within legal reason.) If your suggestion is drawn you will receive a FREE digital copy of the finished photo book! Start thinking and start submitting.
On a certain date and time each month I will draw one suggestion at random – my challenge is then to hire one male model and with him create an entire photo shoot based on the selected suggestion. You will be able to follow along online as we develop the shoot. Some of the finished images will show up here and a majority of them will become a photo book sold online in both print and digital versions.
The best part is that 20% of profits from all sales will be donated to the science of HIV/AIDS research. I’m excited about this new venture and hope you see that it is a great way to support the arts AND a very worthy cause.