Mark Wilbrey has been a popular judge at the photographic society: this year he took on the portfolio competition; no easy task in itself with six categories over two nights. Not only did he provide some insightful comments he managed to make it entertaining as well. On Tuesday night he was back to talk in more depth about his philosophy of photography and his current commercial work. We had great expectations and we weren’t disappointed.
Mark kicked off the evening with a section entitled The Flaneur, a voyeuristic journey through his photographic background as an observer of life through the lens. There were elements of the surreal with a nod to Breton and Dali, images from the darker side of 21st century life, characters photographed through windows and images of people caught unexpectedly and not always in the best of humour. The first half of the evening finished with “Paris by Night” and Homage to Brassai shot in monochrome during one 12 hour period capturing all of the atmosphere and characters of the nocturnal city.
During the break we were invited to go an examine some of his print work in monochrome and to sample his more recent commercial work. This served as an entrée to part two where Mark talked about how he began commercial work and grew his portfolio with tales of the best and the worst experiences a professional photographer might have. From shooting a fashion show indoors, producing posters for a Royal visit in just one day to enduring a shoot in the cold and wet in a car park under the Humber Bridge.
Whereas Mark’s approach would seem to be “understand the rules and then go out of your way to break them” it’s clear that his technical understanding of his craft is exceptional and he brings that expertise to bear in some stunning commercial images. His demand for exceptional quality has led him to experiment with traditional printing using digital negative and having work processed as C Type prints; the results speak for themselves.
You can see some of Mark’s work on his website at: www.markwilbrey.com