His photographs have appeared in magazines such as Outside, National Geographic Adventure, Men’s Health, Bike, Surfer’s Journal, Surfer and Surfing, and many others around the world. A few of the companies that have used his stock photography in their projects have been Microsoft, General Mills, Marriot, Radio Shack, Discovery Channel, Rodale, Rip Curl, Verizon, and many more international companies. Mark’s work is represented by Getty, Corbis and Alamy. It’s a pleasure for us to take an interview with Mark A. Johnson and we wish you a pleasant reading. Enjoy viewing the Mark A. Johnson photography at AstrumPeople.
AP: Mark, it’s a pleasure for us to take an interview about your photography. Please, tell me what got you started?
Mark: Both of my parents were enthusiastic amateur photographers. In fact my dad had a home darkroom, and I got so excited when I saw that first print emerge out of nothing. They infected me with their love of photography, and I too got the photo bug around the age of 12 or 13. Being a newly avid surfer, I wanted to take photos of my friends surfing, so after months of working a paper route in Hawaii, I bought a waterproof Nikonos camera to shoot surfers in the water…the only bummer is that I lost that brand new camera on the very first outing — in giant surf! That taught me the importance of tying the camera to your wrist, among other things! But it didn’t deter me, and I bought another camera shortly thereafter and have never looked back.
AP: Wow, it’s great it didn’t make you to deter. Do you have any formal education in photography or were you self-taught?
Mark: I read a lot of photo how-to books when young, but knew I needed more knowledge about photography and creativity to become a pro which was my ambition. So I attended Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. While there, I also assisted many famous pro photographers who gave workshops.
AP: And what genre are your shots?
Mark: I shoot all of my photography outdoors, and I classify myself as an adventure/action photographer because for the most part, I shoot things that move fast such as ocean waves and water sports. I also shoot travel, nature and lifestyle images. My favorite subjects are ocean oriented, waves being the most challenging, but most enjoyable to shoot. Most of my sports shots are also ocean oriented like kitesurfing, surfing, stand-up paddle surfing, kayaking, and other action sports. With my nature and travel photography, I like to experiment with things like painting with light or using different compositions.
AP: You must be addicted to water and love it much. How would you describe your photos?
Mark: I always hope my work is different from other photographers, as the competition is fierce. I use a waterproof case for my DSLR to shoot waves and water sports as it is much more expensive due to the specialty gear required, and also much more difficult to get great results out in the water.
AP: Yes, it is true; your pictures are fantastic! What kind of equipment and techniques do you use to take your pictures?
Mark: I use Nikon cameras and lenses exclusively. I use Adobe Lightroom 3 90% of the time to process my RAW files and Adobe Photoshop CS5 for those 10% of files where Lightroom won’t do the job.
AP: Would you consider yourself as an expert in photography?
Mark: Well, I still feel I have lots of room to learn and try new things, but I have been making a full time living from photography for over 20 years, so I must be doing something right.
AP: You have a very great experience behind you. Could you please share your success formula?
Mark: To be a full time pro you have to have more than just good technical skills. With today’s cameras and their awesome technical abilities, pretty much anyone can take a well exposed and focused photograph. So you have to separate yourself from the crowd by looking at things differently, using composition or lighting.
AP: Thank you for the advice. I am sure your readers will pay attention to it. Is there someone who supports you in your creativity?
Mark: My mother was especially supportive when I was a child. She and I built our own darkroom in a downstairs room, where I spent hours and hours learning about lighting and exposures. My wife Lexa has been my bedrock of support. A professional photography career is not for the faint hearted and not one that pays a huge income, so to have the support of a partner for this career choice is amazing and wonderful.
AP: Would like to wish something to your readers?
Mark: Because of the number of people who want to do it, the odds are against having a career in photography. However, I urge anyone who has the determination, commitment and of course the great imagery to pursue this goal if they really want it.
Mark, thank you very much for your time and such an interesting story about photography. We would like to wish you inspiration, continued success and of course many other beautiful shots! To learn more about Mark A. Johnson photography and his biography please visit his personal website.
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