Mark English [englishm]
Do you have an online gallery where one can view your photos?
For how long have you done photography? How did you begin?
Well over 30 years now... started with a gift of a Canonet from my (then future) wife.
What has been your education as a photographer?
Largely self-taught over a period of 30 odd years. Grateful to Bryan Peterson for his mentoring, opportunities to assist him on locations in France and Singapore.
Please list any awards for your work.
A few, although this is not something I actively pursue... as an amateur: won the Grand Prize in the Contax Challenge III word-wide contest in 1996, also placed second with another image. More recently I took Best in Class at the 2007 Professional Photographers of Canada Annual Image Competition in the "Pictorial" group, with a second image selected to hang in the National Loan Collection for that year
What is your favourite type of photography?
I am mostly attracted to colour and pattern. The actual subject is not so important. Easier to describe what I don't shoot (at least not anymore): Weddings, Sports & Wildlife
What do you try to express through your photography?
Nothing that I create is intended to have any powerful significance, no social commentary, and no deeper meaning. I simply shoot what attracts my eye. Writer/Photographer Dewitt Jones once referred to the type of subject I am drawn to as "random acts of senseless beauty"
How do you choose your subjects?
I'm simply drawn to interesting juxtapositions of colour and pattern. I find these in nature, in urban settings, and while traveling.
What type of preparation do you do before undertaking the photo session?
Depends on entirely what I am shooting. Sometimes I just head out with a single camera and lens, sometimes I preconceive an idea in my mind and work to make a reality. Travel photography receives extensive research before I leave, learning about the location, and people, the history of a place. I think this absolutely imperative for successful travel images
Do you normally photograph with a purpose already in mind, or do you let yourself go with the flow?
Both... sometimes I pre-visualize and plan extensively, other times I just head out with an open mind. Sometimes the best images are in what you find, not what you set out to shoot. Freeman Patterson called this state of mind, "relaxed attentiveness"
Canon, Nikon, Fuji, Sigma, Olympus, Sony, Pentax...which do you place your bets on and why?
I am a complete brand agnostic. Just don't care anymore: the image is the only thing that matters. I do like gear as much as the next guy, it's just that I finally realize that more gear will not make my images better. The only thing that more gear can provide is additional flexibility, and the ability to create images in more varied situations. Gear, in and of itself, is not capable of creating strong images on its own
Describe your current equipment: cameras, lenses, computers, accessories...
A currently use a pair of Full-frame sensor dSLRs with battery grips on each that provide additional power, and convenient vertical release and better balance in my (large-ish) hands.
Lenses, a 16-35, and 24-105, a 70-200, a 1.4X and a 100 macro. I also carry a 15mm fish-eye, mostly because most other people don't. That's it.
can't imagine life without Adobe Lightroom, and I like to stay current with the latest version of Photoshop
What software and plug-ins do you use to retouch and manage your photos?
Don't use a lot of plugins. I do use Photo-kit Sharpener from Pixelgenius and consider it indispensable, although my reliance on it has lessened now that essentially the same sharpening algorithms are incorporated in to the capture and output sharpening routines of Adobe Lightroom
What measures do you take to protect your work against Internet piracy?
This is a bit of a fool's errand, I think. If someone's going to steal your work, they're going to steal it. I just try to make the effective value of my work as low as possible, by only posting small versions that would not print well beyond say, 1 inch by 1.5 inches or so.
All my work has complete metadata with copyright notice, how to find me etc. Sure, this can be removed... so it;s a bit like a lock on your house. It will only keep honest people honest
Which past masters of photography do you most admire?
Ernst Haas, Pete Turner, Eric Meola, Freeman Patterson and Jim Erickson. All but the first are alive today, so these may not be what you consider "past masters"
Are technology and digital retouching reducing the gap between professionals and amateurs?
Not at all. Technology and digital post processing may help to rehabilitate certain technical deficiencies in a image. But there is still no substitute for inspired vision
Do you consider yourself more technical or more artistic?
I consider myself to technically proficient and work to stay up to date. This is the craft of photography. Mastery of craft is an essential precursor to transferring you artistic vision to you chosen medium, regardless of whether you paint on canvas, sculpt in stone or create photographic prints. Artistic vision develops and changes over time, and while I may always remain technically proficient, I will always be working at improving my artistic vision
What have you learned about the art of framing and composition?
There are rules that you must practice and learn until they are second nature. When you achieve this level of mastery, you must immediately begin breaking every rule you ever learned
How does one develop the instinct of knowing when to press the shutter release button?
Same way you get to Carnegie Hall: Practice! Practice! Practice! (I know: it's an old joke)
When should one use film, and when should one use digital?
Haven't used film in over 5 years. Can't think of a reason I would.
Does photography have the recognition that it should have in contemporary art museums?
Probably not... it's always been sort of a "bastard child" in the Art World. Having said that, I'm not really qualified to comment further