An Incredible Journey with Mark Mann
Episode 65: Mark Mann
In Episode 65 of the Portrait System Podcast, Nikki Closser speaks with Mark Mann about his incredible journey from being a young furniture photographer in Glasgow, Scotland, to becoming a photographer for some of the most influential people in the world. In this engaging conversation, Mark tells Nikki all about what kindled his passion for photography and how he built a career as a photographer in New York City.
Mark shares some wonderful stories and heartfelt advice in the podcast. For even more gems from Mark’s trove of fascinating experiences, head over to his new YouTube channel Complicated Things.
Read on for impactful photos from Mark, highlights from the podcast, answers to some bonus questions, and links to Mark’s presence on the web, including his awesome new YouTube channel, Complicated Things.
Get to Know Mark Mann
“My approach to anyone is exactly the same . . . It doesn’t matter who they are. They’re human beings. And that minute when anybody’s sitting in front of the camera, it’s just you and them. And that’s your opportunity and your time to make this connection and make it worthwhile. And it doesn’t matter who it is.”
“In today’s world of photography, you have to be nimble. You have to be able to move quickly. You have to be able to re-set super quick. And in all honesty, you’re going to have to do some stuff you don’t want to do. One of the things that has been advantageous to me is, you know, not viewing myself as “the artist.” What I love about working as a photographer is the teams. So, even if I am shooting corporate headshots . . . I get to work with a great hair and makeup artist. I have a great assistant there, and that’s the fun. And having that fun within the job . . . you’re having a good time, and you’re at work, and you’re being paid. So, any day that I’m making photographs, and someone’s paying me for it, is the best day in the world.”
Q: What is your average sale currently?
A: $ 14.75
Q: Most artists have a point in their life when they knew this was meant for them. Do you have that moment?
A: I search for that every day and constantly question it.
Q: What fellow artists in the industry do you gain the most inspiration from?
A: To be honest, anyone who’s paying their bills, being creative, and hanging in there deserves a huge amount of respect right now.
Q: How did you push past fear when building your business?
A: The fear was more: work or don’t eat. Now, it’s: work or your family doesn’t eat. Fearful every day.
“As a freelancer – you know, I have this discussion with my wife sometimes about trying to mix art and commerce – so am I an “artist?” Ah no, not really. I’m a guy taking photos, trying to make a living. And then I think, as a freelancer, you’re like, Ok, I did that job. It’s great. I’m gonna get paid, but what am I doing next? So, over the last couple of decades, I’ve never really taken that much time to look over my shoulder to see what I’ve done. It’s just there: What’s next? What’s next? . . . My drive is always, forward, forward, forward, forward.”
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