Posts tagged north carolina photographers
Urban Portrait Photography in the Snow - Durham, NC

Here is some urban portrait photography during the recent snow in my darling town of Durham, NC.

Stay warm!

12 portraits from this week. Cinemagraphs too.

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

20 portraits that I posted this week l Urban-Modern-Durham, NC

As an unostentatious, low-born portrait photographer it's fairly difficult to get people to your actual website due to low SEO rankings, lack of popularity and the simple fact that I'm pretty new at all this.

One of my goals is to have my "audience size" and "page visits" increase from month-to-month.

I've met this goal for the past 5 months.  

Sometimes though, I post portraits on social networks that never get to my website therefore those of you who follow my blog faithfully don't get to enjoy them.  

So in an attempt to address these important issues I'm going to try and create a post like this once a week. 

Let me know you're out there. Leave a comment please!

 

If you missed my last blog post on how much I freaking hate the holidays along with some art. Click here.

Experimental Portrait Photography - Julian, NC

I recently got invited to an experimental fashion shoot "meet up" by model Sarah Robertson (FB).  She seamlessly pulled together an eclectic group of diverse photographers, make-up artist and models.  

This was a first for me to be able to shoot models.  I think I'll do more. 

Here are some of the photographs that were taken from this shoot.  

MODELS: Morgan Whited, Cheri Green, Sarah Latta, Emily Chandler

MAKE-UP ARTIST: Chenee Jones, Cyera Babbs, Sandy Johnston

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!

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. 


Bipolar Disorder and Photography

 

Recently I was featured on Broken Light Collective's gallery.  They are an organization that enhances "the lives of people living with or affected by mental illness through the use of therapeutic photography".

I have been waiting for an opportunity to share this part of my life and I feel this will do.

I have Bipolar II.  Bipolar II is a more mild form of the commonly heard of mental illness, Bipolar I, that results in depression and mania. 

This has actually been one of the catalyst to my quite successful creative life according to "The link Between Bipolar Disorders and Creativity: Evidence From Personality and Temperament Studies." (2010) by S. Ketter Srivastava.  A study from Karolinska Institute in Sweden also shows that families with a history of bipolar...were more likely to produce creative people.  

Yay for me. Right?

Well yeah kind of,  but I will tell you this:

I do struggle everyday to keep it together.  My family, health, job, creative projects and the like continually fill my mind with energy and daunting taxation. 

Photography, and being creative in general, has been my prime source of therapy.  

As you enjoy my photos understand that they are not just photos but they are an extension of me, my thoughts and a lot of times they're not happy.  


Recently, one of my favorite photographers, Jeremy Cowart, was asked to do an interview with only one question asked: "What is the single most effective marketing tactic you use to grow your photography business?"

His response: "I wear my heart on my sleeve"


 

enjoy my heart guys.

-Mark

 

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



 

Urban Street Portraits - Centerfest Arts Festival in Durham, NC

Here are some of my street portraits from the Centerfest Arts Festival in Durham, NC this weekend!  Thanks to Riley Maclean for shooting with me.

 

Need to pay the bills? Take more photos.

I have taught hundreds of young people up to this point in my life.  Many of them proclaim early on that they want to be a "photographer".  The most common type is a "National Geographic" photographer.  This one sits along side many other rare jobs that the young, zealous heart can't help but dream about.  There's nothing wrong with this, in fact, I encourage this sort of loftiness when stating long-term goals and what you eventually aspire to be.  Here's a few quick facts and tips to help you on your way to stardom. 

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FACT #1  Did you know that in 2012 the median pay for a photographer was $13.70 per hour! 

*Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Photographers, on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/media-and communication/photographers.htm (visited August 20, 2014).

TIP #1  Don't think about the money.  

Starting out it's important to focus on getting better and shooting.  I know it's tempting to spend hours on your "portfolio" website and making it look like your a "pro" when you're not (I did this by the way), but when it comes down to it your struggles and process of "becoming is what shows others your level of professionalism and why they should you money for a photo shoot over the next "average Joe" photographer. 


FACT #2   236,100 are uploaded every minute on Facebook and Instagram.  (Gizmodo)

 TIP #2   Your photos better get people's attention.   Make and post original, consistent photos that make people think.  Be original, simple and surprising! During my graduate program I had an instructor in one of my photography classes say "the world doesn't need more photographers , it needs more people who pay attention".

 

FACT #3  Lots of people hate their job and it shows through their work. Even though I am not following the "rule", I am the source here.  I have been around 100's and 100's of miserable people over the past 12 years and they suck at what they do.  If you still need a source, here you go.

TIP #3  Don't be a photographer if you wouldn't do it for free.   I am convinced that one of the keys to life is simply doing what you love without money being a factor. 

 

Here are some pros who do this stuff well and inspire me. Please check them out and like their stuff: Chase Jarvis, Jeremy Cowart, Joey L. And Sam Hurd

If you like this post please tweet it here!  I would greatly appreciate it!

Stay hungry and keep shooting guys.

Cheers! 

Mark





100 Days of Self Portraits and the Lessons I Learned
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For the past one hundred days I have shot/edited/posted one self-portrait every day. I'm not done by any means. In fact, I'm actually going to be doing 365 of them.  I will be taking the month of August off to reflect and regroup though.

So I wanted to share three lessons that I've learned over the past 100 days:

LESSON 1.  Not everybody likes my style and that's okay.

When I began this self-portrait project I knew that everyone was going to love all of my photos.  Wrong.

After I came to the realization that this was a ridiculous notion (which took about a month) I began to see a change in my work. This change was very welcome because it liberated me to make photographs that were specifically my style and not what other people wanted my style to be.


LESSON 2.  I can ALWAYS become a better photographer.

I walked into my good friend Riley Maclean's studio in Durham, North Carolina (www.rileymaclean.com) just after I finished my first 30 days of self-portraits.  I was excited to get his reaction on my project and my work.  His reaction surprised me and caught me off guard. "You've gotta step up your game " he said.  Riley's words have run through my mind almost every day since then. It was a challenge to push myself to get better every day and to take better photographs every time I shoot.


LESSON 3. Think less. Do more.

For most of my life I've been a pretty creative guy. I've had at least what I felt like to be really wonderful and original ideas.  The only problem is I've never done anything about it.  I have wasted my energy on thinking about game changing projects that are eccentric and complex.  "it also turns out that 'doing stuff' counts a hellvua a lot more than 'thinking about doing stuff' ". Chase Jarvis (www.chasejarvis.com) said this during an interview with Dan Schwabel at Forbes.com where he was talking about some of the lessons he has learned. Find it here.  This quote was actually the catalyst that caused me to do this project and has challenged me to shoot more photos and to stop worrying so much. 

You can follow my journey through my 365 day self-portrait project at: 

www.markmayaphoto.com 

www.Facebook.com/Markmayaphotography 

www.instagram.com/Markmayaphoto

www.Twitter.com/Markmayaphoto

Here is the first hundred days of my 365 day self-portrait project. Cheers!