Posts tagged durham nc
Ben Sollee \\ Durham, NC

Here's the story of how I got to take portraits of Ben Sollee:

I emailed him and asked him.  

He said "sure". 

I met him at Motorco Music Hall in Durham, NC.  We shot a few portraits. 

We walked down to Coco Cinnamon Coffee Shop and he bought me an espresso. I said "thanks". We shot some more portraits. 

I shot some portraits of Ben's drummer, Jordon Ellis (click here to see those). 

I did a long portrait of Ben. (click here to see that)  

Ben and Jordon did their sound check inside of Motorco. 

Afterwards, Ben and I walked up the street and did one of his "City Single" videos for their next show in Charlottesville, VA. 

He gave my wife a t-shirt.  She said "thanks".

We had dinner at Geer Street Garden then saw Ben's incredible show along with Becca Stevens Band.



Candice + Jonathan \\ Durham, NC

This was a fun shoot. I took Candice and Jonathan to Forest Hills Park in Durham, NC to get some nature vibes!

 
 
Why We All Need More Couples Photos

I've been married to my wife now for 12 years. I take photos of her a lot.  I don't take photos of us that much though.    

I created this photo book for her as a gift to celebrate our anniversary. 

As I was creating it I realized just how few photos that we actually had together.  

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I wasn't ok with this.  I thought to myself "this is the most important person in the world to me and I don't have more photos of us.  what's the deal?"

I realized that  1) I'm always holding the camera.  2) I usually just take photos of Kathryn and not us.

I also noticed how I felt creating this book for her.  I felt joy, connection, intimacy...lots of dopamine being released. 

I asked myself "why am I not taking more photos of couples so they can feel this too?"

One of the goals that I have for the new year is to make more portraits "couples".  I'm going to be working hard to step outside of my normal "portrait" and to focus more on couples portraits. 

What does that mean for you?  

If you have a partner then we should connect!

If you know someone who has a partner then share this with them!

Take advantage of the "Couples Portrait Session" special that I've got going on this month:

In honor of celebrating 12 years with the love of my life, I've decided to give you the opportunity to invest in a couple's session with the love of YOUR life. I am offering 1/2 off my normal session fee.

Happy Holidays,

Mark

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Woolard Family \\ Raleigh, NC

I don't get to go to downtown Raleigh, NC much anymore so I was stoked to get the opportunity to hang out with Kim, Sam and Dennis for family portraits while we wandered the downtown area.  

12 portraits from this week. Cinemagraphs too.

here are 12 of my favorite portraits from this week.  just in cased you missed them.

Austin Trotman - Darkhorse - 2016 Olympic Hopeful

Last year I got to do a portrait session with my good friend Austin Trotman.

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Austin and I wrestled together during our undergraduate campaigns at Appalachian State University.  

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He now wrestles for Team USA and trains with world champion and olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs.

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In 2012, Austin defeated the #1, #2 and #3 nationally ranked wrestlers at the NCAA D1 wrestling tournament in St. Louis, Missouri.  

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During my graduate program at Appalachian State University I chose him my subject for a year long documentary project I did.

This was by far the most extensive project that I have done with the exception of my self portrait project.  I remember struggling through the processes of creating a documentary as well as knowing nothing about video, editing, lighting or story-telling.   

I also remember the feeling of finishing the video, sharing it and seeing the huge impact it had on the community of "wrestling".  

I had no idea that Austin's story (or the way I told it) would create an emotional reaction like it did in people.  

To this day when I am at wrestling events I meet people who thank me for making this piece. At the time I thought it was because of my "amazing documentary video skills".  

Not so (as you will see when you watch it). 

It was actually because it gave people a small amount of hope.  

LESSON LEARNED:  My inability to make perfect art is not important. It's how humans react to it that is important.  

Best Self Portrait Photography - Durham, NC

This past week I took a break from other folks and turned the camera on myself with another self portrait photo shoot.

I shot these at 930am-1030am and positioned my screen to create the interesting angle of the sunlight coming through the window.  Honestly I didn't plan this.  It just happened.  

Shot with 50mm lens at 1.2 .  Edited with VSCO FILM 06. Mostly Porta. 

Please leave a comment below on which one is your favorite!

My Issues with Veteran's Day - Urban Iraq to Urban Durham, NC
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Last year on around Veteran's Day I revealed some of my photos from my tour in Iraq during the 2005-2006 Operation Iraqi Freedom.  

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Since then I have made myself a bit more vulnerable to the world by revealing that I have borderline personality disorder and addressing some of my deepest issues.  

Here's another.

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 When I was "over there" I had a really toxic relationship with one of my superiors. This partly caused by my inability to empathize and partly by the rigid culture of the U.S. military.  

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I recall "exchanging words" on numerous occasions with this guy calling him names that I won't write here.  

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On the last patrol that we went on he got hit by an IED (improvised explosive device) and is now a vegetable (I recently heard that his family and doctors "pulled the plug" though).

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 I cried a lot when this happened because I couldn't take back what I said and did to him. 

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I recently discovered that he was actually in a "traumatic brain injury" treatment facility here in Durham, NC where I live.

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 I considered visiting him but I was pretty scared. 

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LESSON LEARNED: Life's really short. Don't be mean to people. 

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The Story Behind This Portrait - Durham, NC

I approached this gentleman in Durham, NC and asked him if I could take his portrait.  He was leaning against a back alley way watching the pedestrians stroll by.  He seemed disconnected.  I also felt somewhat disconnected and out of place because I wasn't really interacting with the subjects that I was taking portraits of.  

After I asked him if I could take his portrait, he began to tear up and proceeded to tell me that he moved to Durham after Hurricane Katrina. He told me he lost everything.  I was initially confused as to why he was telling me this but I quickly understood that he was simply recognizing the connection that had happened by me approaching him and he was moved enough to tell me the story that he recollects the most.

LESSON LEARNED: Don't just take portraits.  Get the story then take the portrait.   In post-processing I was able to choose the portrait that seemed to communicate the man's story most effectively because we had a short conversation before I took the portrait.  

My Biggest Struggle with Photography and Lesson Learned

We all have struggles.  We all wish things were different sometimes.  

The thing that makes us special is our passion to connect with others.  The goal with all of my portraits is to somehow connect human beings.  

Here's the problem though.

I use photography to disconnect myself from others sometimes.  It's very easy to be the "the guy with the camera" and not have to talk to anyone.  I often use photography to create a barrier between myself and social situations.   As someone who continually struggles to keep my emotions "under control" this is difficult especially as a photographer. 

This is my biggest struggle with photography. 

The interesting thing is that since I have been shooting more portraits of people, my ability to connect to others has increased.  I am able to talk to others with less anxiety.  I can give an authentic smile to someone and I can leave a shoot with a sense of fullness having met my goal of not only connecting other humans, but also connecting myself. 


LESSON LEARNED: Sometimes the thing we are scared of the most is actually the thing we need the most. 


The story behind this image and a life lesson.

 

 

I was walking around a trailer park shooting photographs in Boone, NC a few years ago when I saw three young girls and starting taking photos of them.

 

They approached me and asked me if they could take some photos with my camera.  I was obliged so I quickly handed my camera over to the older of the three girls.  She began shooting the other two girls.  

and me.

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Then one of the other two girls took the camera and began to shoot the older girl.

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and then this image happened. 

LESSON LEARNED:  Don't underestimate other people's abilities based on age, social status and race.  

 

 

Darin and Brooke Aldridge \\ Durham, NC

Darin and Brooke Aldridge contacted me a while back and explained that they're coming out with a new album  (Snapshots) in February of 2015 and that they would like me to shoot the photos of the album cover.

The next weekend they came down to my darling town. Durham, NC. 

You can download the album "Snapshots" here on iTunes. Snap shots has an incredible array of songs and lyrics.  I highly recommend you get this album when it's released. Expected Release: Feb 17, 2015

You can also check out Darin and Brooke Aldridge's tour schedule here.

Hair and make-up artist: Kathryn Trivett-Maya