Mark Sink has been making a living from fine art photography since 1978. He is well known for his imagery made with a toy plastic camera; the Diana. He excels at reverse technology, using collodion wet plate photography. His personal work is in numerous museum collections as well as solo and group gallery shows in the US, South America and Europe. He is currently represented by G. Ray Hawkins in California, Robin Rice in New York and Rule Gallery in Denver. As a photographer of fine art he worked with and documented noted artists lives and their work such as Andy Warhol and Jean Michel Basquiat. Mark’s family heritage in photography runs deep and his research into his roots is ongoing . His great grandfather, photographer James L. Breese, was the founder, member and primary inspiration for the Camera Club of New York, which was one of the earliest groupings of fine art photographers in America. Even further back, Samuel Finley Breese Morse, (Breese’s uncle), was “the father of American photography” and inventor of the telegraph. It is with this legacy in mind that prompted Sink to form a monthly Salon of artists both on the Internet and in his living room.www.gallerysink.com
Currently Mark serves on the exhibition committee at RedLine, a downtown city block of new gallery/multimedia studio work spaces that provides grants to selected emerging and mid career artists and exhibitions. Mr. Sink is founder and director of MOP (Month of Photography) in Denver, bi-annually coordinating all the regional galleries, museums and art spaces geared toward celebrating photography in mass.
When and how did you become interested in Photography?Gosh .. started as a kid, i shot more than most kids with my Kodak Instamatic…then while studying art in college, it stuck as a career.
What gear do you mainly shoot with?1860s Voigtlander lens and view camera .. vintage Dianas..Blad.. Pinhole ..Fuji Instant films .. Nikon D3 .. iPhone
What is your #1 source of inspiration?Beauty … Woman.
As for people that inspired me ..It changes day to day .. Andy Warhol is a constant .. and ManRay .. but recently i am heading into collage so i am getting myself up to speed studying collage artists, buying lots of books and learning where the medium is at today.
Many times photographers find themselves with a full schedule of paying gigs, ending up with little time for doing the work they truly love. Do you struggle with finding time for your personal work?I am very lucky to make a frugal living off of my personal art work. I take on commercial jobs time to time to pay the bills. I always tell students to make money from anything but photography .. be careful as soon as you turn what you freely passionately love into commercial jobs… it will burn you and your art production out…promise.
What is your all time favorite genre to shoot?Portraits and staged fantasy.
Do you have any upcoming shows or events you want our readers to know about?I am doing lots of street art (wheat pasting) around town… and trading with photographers all over the world actually ..We have bill boards up in Switzerland .. i have street art work up in Russia, Japan, Germany ..on and on….its great fun.. you can check it out on my facebook page… its called the “Big Picture” and we are going to be publishing a book on it.
or click this link to the google map to find the locations of where the work is installed…
I’m crazy for street art these days. Its very exciting to see your work up around town in public places many last for years. The community really enjoys it. Its win win. I will be having a show at Robin Rice Gallery in NYC this fall/winter…
I just had a dozen or so shows come down from the Month of Photography last March .. I will be doing this again in March of 2013 and photographers should keep an eye out for this happening, because galleries go crazy looking for work ..its a great time to get your work up on some walls and shown in a gallery.
What is the one thing you feel makes your style or your work unique?Going reverse tech when everyone is going for more mega pixels..I used only toy Diana cameras for 30 years (dreamy figure and staged fantasy) .. but now that the Lomography heads have surfaced and the Diana is very popular with Urban Outfitters and all that .. i have moved on to collodion wet plates, however, now that is becoming the rage ..so who knows… I may go further back to tracing images with a camera obscura maybe? .. I am starting to get into hand cut collage from old magazines.. it evolves.
if you could photograph anyone, (past/present/future), who would it be and why?Rachel Ruysch (1600s) Evelyn Nesbit (1800s) …Kiki of Montparnasse ( 1920s) Marlyn Monroe (1950s ) Francesca Woodman (1970s). Today? a week with a cool happy hippie down to earth super model would be dreamy. I am inspired by the muses and strong women who have changed art history.
what’s your dream photo field trip?Paris, London, Venice with local friends showing you hidden treasures.
what’s your post production process?I do very little post production. I like to get it right in the camera. The more post production one does the more fake it becomes. I scan everything and store it chronologically.
if you had unlimited resources to purchase any type of camera, what would it be and why?Probably a Nikon D3x to play with for fun and commercial and filming… For my art more 1860s Wetplate cameras and lenses..I love the old medium format Rolli’s i got from my dad .. I use my great grandfather’s cameras everyday.. I have enough cameras and equipment to hand down to my children’s children’s children. Which by the way none of the beautiful timeless equipment that lasts forever will be digital… digital equipment has a very very short life span, one will not hand down digital cameras … but I believe that the camera really doesn’t matter because it’s the concept that counts..
who are your favorite photographers and why?ManRay .. Warhol, John Baldessari, Rodchenko..Josef Sudek… they were fine artists.
what has been the shining moment of your career thus far? (or, describe your “big break”)Probably meeting Warhol. Or getting my first show in NYC gave me belief in myself and work.
do you have any tips/tricks or advice for amateur photo nerds who are looking to shoot full time or students who are just starting out?Get involved with a photography community. Start a Salon. Enter competitions like critical mass… The things closest to you are the most rewarding. Shoot every day ..shoot everything..make a piece of art with idle hands ..think of everything you do as art …think of a painter who works on his canvas every day work on your images passionately like that . Most importantly do it for the love of doing it first not for the money. Always have a generous heart. I believe in karma payback.
what’s the soundtrack to your life and/or your favorite music to listen to while editing?Right now i am listening to Paper Bird..we have been photographing them. I’ll usually shuffle a wide range from death metal to juno… i love female vocalists.
what’s your favorite hang (when shooting or not)?In my everything bed/office/dinner table/tv /love making/work station (bedroom)…. where i am typing now with my puppy, kitties and girlfriend around me.
best chow (meal/snack) to get you ready for a shoot? or best way to celebrate a brilliant capture?Z Cuisine is a French bistro on the corner that trades me amazing organic meals for art… or my favorite amazing Mexican taco stand where you have to speak Spanish to order.
will you share with us one of your favorite shots? why is this your fave?
Nymphs of the Danube (it started my Greek tragedy staged series) and recent Ambrotype images on blue glass.
Maria (below) I shot yesterday.
your favorite photo by another photographer?Hmmm that’s so difficult.. it changes day to day … hour by hour .. minute by minute.
Today we found out model Nettie R Harris is coming to visit and she was just photographed by Ryan McGinley – I love the image of Nettie with the hawk.
Probably my more long term fave is Gertrude Käsebier’s photo of Evelyn Nesbit…
…next minute it will be another. It all depends on the mood I’m in.
has your passion for photography changed at all since turning “pro”?I am happy to say my passion and search is still high. I gauge it by the dancing in the darkroom. The excitement that rushes over you when a great image appears… i start dancing and singing.
do you have a favorite / lucky item of clothing, outfit or uniform that you like to wear when shooting an important assignment or project?My comfy Clark shoes.. with wetplate i have a rubber glove on all the time. The neighbors wonder whats going on.
are you a photography nerd or a camera gangsta?photo nerd …gangsta when i get a few drinks in me.
what’s your sign? (we’re conducting a poll)Aquarius on the cusp with Capricorn
who would you like to see interviewed by photopolus next?Someone on the other side of the world.
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