presents a new series of features.
Talented photographers are interviewed and talk about themselves and their relationship with Photography.
This month we introduce you to Mark Guider from USA, a.k.a.
One can sense the feel of street in every frame of his photograph. We interview him and speak about his journey as a street photographer.
TPA: Tell us a bit about yourself.
Mark: My name is Mark Guider and I am 48. I live in the very rural northern part of Vermont, very close to Canada. I work as a school teacher, I am married, and I have two children. Being an athlete has dominated my life, but photography is slowly replacing my athletic pursuits. As I am self taught, anything that I know about photography was learned through trial and error.
TPA: How did your relationship with Photography begin and how has it developed through the years?
Mark: In the public High School that I attended there was a Media Center that had a darkroom and some SLR gear that could be borrowed. In 1981, I expressed some interest so I was given brief instructions on developing and printing and borrowed a Canon SLR. The only thing that I remember shooting then was a big Track and Field event using a huge 300mm tele lens. I knew nothing about photography and had to teach myself how to use the camera, but the results were impressive to me nonetheless. I think that was when the seed was planted. Shortly after that I bought my first camera (early Canon Sure Shot AF), and another year later my first SLR (Mamiya ZE). I began shooting a lot of rock climbing photo's, some of which were published in magazines and guidebooks. My involvement in photography was very sporadic from 1993 to 2010 when I got my first Digital SLR. I started shooting street roughly one year ago and it quickly became an obsession. I have come to realize that I have been shooting street shots in my mind for a very long time, it is the way I see most everything.
TPA: Which photographers influenced you?
Mark: Probably my brother Paul influenced me the most. He is a very gifted artist. When he was in the Navy he was doing some photography as his ship sailed around the Mediterranean. He made me a calendar using photo's he had taken all over Europe, many of which were street shots. Those photo's (all B&W) made a lasting impression. More recently the works of Vivian Maier and many of the photographers on DA have inspired me.
TPA: What equipment do you use?
Mark: For digital it's currently the Olympus OM-D E-M5, usually fitted with the Lumix 14mm f2.5. I have collected several vintage film cameras and my current favorite is a Canon AF35ML that I bought from a Goodwill store for $2.99. It has a great fast lens for street.
TPA: What do you enjoy photographing most?
Mark: City streets for sure. The more people the better. Unfortunately this scenario does not exist in Vermont.
TPA: What continually drives you to photograph in the streets?
Mark: The potential for ever changing and unlimited scenarios playing out 24 hours a day, all over the world.
TPA: How do you describe your photography style?
Mark: I wouldn't claim to have a style yet, but if I must I'd say from the hip and extremely covert. I want to have zero influence on my subjects. Usually I just take one shot, I like the pressure of only having one chance for the capture.
TPA: When you photograph, do you have a theme in mind?
Mark: Sometimes I walk into a situation or setting that creates a theme, otherwise I wander.
TPA: How do you get close to your subjects?
Mark: I've gotten really good at looking disinterested or distracted, combined with the hip or belly shot.
TPA: Have you ever offended anyone?
Mark: No, never. This is very important to me. I am sure that I have missed many shots because of this, but it is just a response to my own comfort with confrontation. I am slowly becoming more bold though.
TPA: What kind of impression do you hope to leave upon other’s who see your photographs?
Mark: Just an untainted situation, moment, or expression. Viewers may create their own story.
TPA: Do you believe in gear? How important is gear for Street Photographers?
Mark: I am very much a "gear head", but I know that with street photography in particular the equipment is secondary.
TPA: Definite qualities of a Street Photographer according to Mark?
Mark: Fast eyes for sure. Meaning the ability to constantly scan, evaluate, predict, and act. Sometimes in less than a second. Strangely this same skill has helped me to be successful in rock climbing, trail running, snowboarding, and riding a motorcycle fast!
TPA: You once said about one of your dreams, “…I would say that I feel guilty because I am sacrificing many things that may be more important in the pursuit of great street shots. But I won't let that stop me”. Why is that?
Mark: The problem for me is that I must travel in order to pursue street photography. This requires at least a full day commitment when I could, or maybe should be addressing my responsibilities as a parent, husband, professional educator, or homeowner. The reality is though that the spiritual health that I gain from photography helps me to be a better person in all of those realms. Those who know me well have come to understand that these pursuits are an essential part of who I am.
TPA: One place you always want to visit for Street Photography?
Mark: It is so tough to pick just one. Istanbul has always interested me.
TPA: One picture and the story behind it?
Mark: While not my best shot, I guess "Cat Fight" because it is a perfect example of an instant, unexpected moment requiring the fast eyes that I spoke of. I was aware of the Hello Kitty backpack, but it was not so interesting to me. In an instant the train pulled up, the door opened, and there sat a girl dressed as a cat who immediately glared at the backpack wearing girl. Maybe three seconds start to finish. This is what it is all about for me. I was afraid to even check the shot until I got home. I was happy with the result.
TPA: Any final thoughts for our readers?
Mark: I still consider myself to be a beginner when it comes to street photography. I am self taught, so the feedback I receive from DA is essential for growth. I am honored to be featured in this way, and only hope that I am worthy of this recognition. I truly appreciate every positive comment and fave, they inspire me to keep going.
Enjoy some of his marvelous photos
Thank you for your time and don't forget to show the featured artist your appreciation
Journal made by
on behalf of the
Street / PJ / Urban & Rural Team