Every good photographer experiences a small thrill when what they see through their eye, gets captured perfectly by their camera. Photographer Mark Essner, who never leaves home without his camera, loves to capture things others may have missed. “Photography has an ability to convey so much in a frozen moment of time, that can never be repeated,” Mark says. “That’s the excitement of good photography.”
Mark likes to shoot things that aren’t what they used to be: formerly grand places and objects that have lost their lustre; things that strike him as ironic; and people, both strangers and clients. He is the eye behind From My Eye to Yours blog and Twitter handle, where he shares his work.
“I’ve always been the guy with the camera and over time, I’ve realized photography allows me to share stories and experiences,” he says. “The photograph is the ultimate way to show what I’m passionate about.”
Mark’s work falls into two different areas these days: photography that is the basis for his art pieces and portrait photography. His creative process has evolved from traditional photography to mixed-media art. “I’ll print a photo twice: once on plexiglass and once on aluminum, or another medium,” says Mark. “I isolate an item in the photo and cut that shape out in the top layer, so one of the images has a different texture with a reflective quality, giving it a 3D effect.” It changes the way the viewer interacts with a photo and he gets positive reactions from this work.
The other side of his work is portrait photography. He takes thoughtful and beautiful images of women, some of whom have never been photographed before. “Everyone I spend time with has a story, and I try to learn about her and that story, or at very least get to know her well enough to capture her – the real her,” he says.
While selling a mixed media piece is more lucrative than his portrait work which he often does for free, he says shooting people is more personally rewarding as it allows him to connect with someone. “It is incredibly rewarding to show a person how she is seen by others,” Mark says.
Mark is an avid music fan (check out his photos of the Headstones in the studio), is a board member of Neruda Arts and is involved with Arts Awards Waterloo Region. Mark would like to see Waterloo Region increase its support for the arts and culture sector. “I want this to be a vibrant and beautiful community to raise our families, and at the end of the day, an exciting and interesting place to unwind,” he says.
P.S. Mark’s favourite topics of conversation: history, music, music history and people.