FK chats to talented photographer Mark Lobo, whom we have been lucky enough to have photograph The Finders Keepers Markets!
We know of your amazing work from numerous Finders Keepers Markets, your photos always have such beautiful light and clarity, capturing the perfect moment. How would you describe your style of photography and how has this evolved?
Thank you, and thanks for mentioning the “perfect moment”. It’s something that I pay a lot of attention to when I’m shooting. I’ll often try to capture what I call “moments of distraction” which, when shooting portraits, always feels a lot more honest. I think my style started out as purely documentary then moved towards more commercial styled portraits and now I feel I’m moving more towards a combination of the two… clean, well lit and often with an honest story to tell.
(Take a look at some of Mark’s favourite shots from Finders Keepers here)
Can you tell us about your background and what lead you to where you are today?
Although I’ve always been interested in photography, it wasn’t until the end of my university studies in Information Technology, that I had actually started considering anything else as an option. I knew that I wanted to be doing something much more creative with my life, but I took a job as a web developer as a “temporary” measure to get me by. During this time, my interests in photography began to grow and I started to get a bit of work shooting on the side. Three miserable years passed and I suddenly realised that I was a much better photographer than I was a programmer and loved it so much more. So I quit my day job, and haven’t looked back!
Who are your favourite photographers? and what inspires your work and keeps you motivated?
My favourite photographers are often those without pretence, that shoot from the heart and have their own perspective. I love seeing fresh intriguing work that can turn a momentary glance into a long, mesmerising stare. Gregory Crewdson’s work and a number of cinematic and creative portrait photographers have always had this effect on me. What keeps me the most inspired are the people that I photograph. I love working with and photographing inspiring and creative people. Their stories are usually what will determine how a photograph is composed and set up. I find my motivation through a healthy dose of constructive self criticism. I’m always focused on moving towards reaching a certain level of photography and knowing that I’m constantly getting closer to it keeps me motivated.
What part of photography do you enjoy the most and what areas do you like to explore? Is there other parts of photography you would like to expand in to?
I often enjoy the results more than the planning, shooting, editing and everything else involved in a photo shoot. The end result is what matters the most to me, but I definitely do still appreciate the medium as a whole. I’ve always been interested in working with other people, so shooting portraits has always been my thing. Although, I do feel that within portraiture, I’d like to focus a bit more on editorial and larger projects in the form of documentary and photo essays.
How do you balance the creative and commercial work and what is your working process?
This has always been a constant battle. When commercial work gets busy, there is literally no time to be working on my own personal projects. So I find it very difficult to keep ongoing projects alive. My solution to this has been to regularly schedule in booking-free days and focus on personal projects. I’ve been able to do this with my side project, Von Vintage (www.vonvintage.com) which has helped me make the time to get an online store happening, blog as well as have a few exhibitions.
What do you love most about being a photographer, and what are some challenges?
Love is a pretty important word to me when it comes to photography, it’s why I do what I do! I love being able to be constantly creating, whether it’s my own work or helping a client achieve their vision. And I love that I’m meeting new and inspiring, creative people on a daily basis. There are many challenges which I suppose aren’t all specific to being a photographer. Most of them include the uninteresting side of running a small business… (Tax, marketing, networking, emails etc). They are all necessary factors, but things that I would have never envisioned taking so much of my time away from shooting. I do love a good challenge though.
What kind of clients have you got to work with, and what have been some of your favourite projects?
Through agencies, I’ve worked on a range of different types of commercial jobs from Foot Locker campaigns to editorial and food photography for hotels like Sofitel and Marriott. However, I also really enjoy working on smaller editorial jobs, especially when they get me outdoors! One of my recent editorial shoots was for United Airlines’ inflight magazine and they had me out shooting a surfer on the beach for a day! Sand. Everywhere.
At the moment, I’m also currently working on a sculpture piece for a collaborative exhibition called “Seven with Another”. I think this is a great way for me to step out of my photographic comfort zone and create something totally different! We’re building a huge piece that will look one way to the human eye, but totally different when a photo of it is taken! I’m very excited about it and wish I could divulge more about it before opening night, but it’s a surprise.
What aspirations do you have for the future and what would be your dream project?
Well, the next phase is to take my photography to a bigger city and work with more creatives on larger projects. I’ll be expanding out to Melbourne next year to shoot more commercial, editorial and hopefully work a bit more on collaborative projects! My dream project is anything that has me seeing and experiencing new places and allows me to shoot whatever I want. I think following and documenting a crew’s expedition to the world’s most beautiful and remote areas, Antarctica perhaps, would be up there.
Photo credits: Last image by Robert Josiah all other images by Mark Lobo.