CA: How did you get in to photography?
MW: To be honest, my sister had a camera and I wanted to be better than her. I can’t draw so l decided to pick up the camera and see where it took me. It happened to become a passion. The more you do it, the more you fall in love with your craft.
CA: What made you decide to specialize in shooting women with your camera?
MW: I started off doing landscape pictures which was the foundation for my photography. I eventually got into photojournalism and shot for a few newspapers. The problem is these publications didn’t pay well. I tried to find something I can get more creative with and still get paid the amount to sustain myself as an artist. Photography is not inexpensive at all. The cameras can be two thousand dollars as well as the lens. This is not including food and rent. I decided to shoot models because it was easier due to the amount of them in Los Angeles.
CA: How often do you shoot on a daily/weekly/monthly basis?
MW: I used to shoot every day. Every single day. I eventually had to cut back on it to be quality over quantity. I wanted to get the quality up and not rush the edits to get ready for the next shoot. Now I try to shoot three to four times a week. I like binge shooting and not shoot for the rest of the week to do editing.
CA: Explain your process for working with clients for shoots?
MW: It depends because if they want me to shoot for their portfolio, they will message me on how to get the process started. I ask what concept do they have in mind for it and we brainstorm together. If they are trying to act, I would shoot a headshot for them. If they are trying to model then it is headshot followed by us starting the shoot. As of late, I have been doing a lot of weddings. I really like weddings because it is easier. A lot of movement but there is not as much editing necessary for the models. One picture for a model could take up to five hours for editing.
CA: Is it easy working with all of these ladies? Any things you have had to learn to work more effectively with them as clients?
MW: It depends on the person. I do come across the divas and the ones who keep nagging you for their pictures. We have to be able to vibe or the pictures won’t come out right. Most of the time it is cool but I do come across people I have to take breaks to regain my cool.
CA: How do you setup your exhibits/galleries?
MW: I have so many pictures which is probably why my laptop is so messed up now (I have over 100,000 pictures). I print some unreleased work as well as some favorites people liked on IG. I do this to also try to sell some of the pieces. My next exhibit is more about glorifying the black woman. It has a focused theme instead of random things I shoot.
CA: How do you want your work/portfolio to be remembered for?
MW: I want people to know I tried to step outside the box and do something that isn’t normal. I want them to say I haven’t seen this perspective before. A lot of pictures give off a mysterious vibe in connection to the models. I want them to know I am trying to stand out and be different. I need to show people you can be different and successful at the same time.
Follow Mark on his IG @questionmarkk