PROFILE – Mark Eaton, Photographer
ARTIST STATEMENT- I am interested in the irony and conflict and beauty of life. What is perceived reality is not always so upon closer inspection and introspection.
BACKGROUND- I am an American and married to a Korean citizen. I was a secondary education teacher in the states, and, like tens of thousands of my education colleagues, was out of a teaching job when the US economy failed. I currently teach English as a private tutor, which is possible thanks to my having an F-2-1 visa.
I have been photographing since my days in high school. I learned how to take traditional film photographs using a Canon camera, and that familiarity with Canon products entices me to use that brand’s digital line. I currently use a Canon EOS 5D with Canon lenses. I very much enjoyed rolling and developing my own film, and then printing my work; however, the digital darkroom is much more convenient here in South Korea.
“I very much enjoyed rolling and developing my own film.”
My artistic goal is to create lasting and worthwhile photographs. I do not consider myself a contemporary photographer, because I’m interested in how my work might be viewed ten, twenty, fifty, and even one hundred years from now. I am not interested in the gimmicks or fads of the profession, but rather the quality of the work. Each of my photos has a metaphor or story. I don’t just press the button to take a picture but rather I compose or look for those compositions that speak to my heart. There are times, however, when, to borrow a phrase from Freud, when a photo is just a photo.
“Each of my photos has a metaphor or story.”
In the states, I had the capability to print much of my own work using archival photo paper and archival ink. I mounted, matted, and framed my own work. For that work which was very large and color, I used a printing company which used archival photo canvas and archival ink. The very large black and white photos were printed on photo paper. The photographs were printed to last anywhere from 75 to 100 years under normal circumstances. Longer if the work is kept in a low humidity setting and completely out of the sun. I currently do not have any capability to print my own work properly; consequently, I rely upon a printing company and a framer to complete my work in Suncheon. Whereas I wore clean white cotton gloves when I handled my work carefully with both hands, in South Korea the printers often pick up my photos hot off the printer with one hand to look at them as if there were looking at a student essay or a bank statement. I’ve yet to learn how to say, in Korean, “Get your damn thumb off my photo, and caress that baby with two hands.” My issues, I know.
“Get your damn thumb off my photo, and caress that baby with two hands.”
INSPIRATION- I find beauty almost anywhere I look; line, perspective, pattern, texture, light, shadow, character. I usually will shoot in a dedicated black and white mode, because that is how I see best. I will shoot in a dedicated color mode if I believe the composition is extraordinary. There are artists who have inspired and who continue to inspire me. The master artists such as Paul Peel, Renoir, Frederic Leighton, Adolphe William Bouguereau, Andrew Wyeth, and Cranach touch me deeply. Photographers such as Alfred Stieglitz, Charles Dodgson (the same who wrote Alice in Wonderland under the name of Lewis Carroll), Dorothea Lange, Sally Mann, Carsten Peter, Alexander Fradis and Jock Sturges.
In fact, it was Jock Sturges who taught me the importance of working with ‘atmospheres’ as you call it. If the sky is part of a composition, there must be something of interest in it to keep the viewer interested. I look forward to cloudy and/or stormy days. If there is a day shoot that is cloudless, then I often look for buildings, structures, and architecture to photograph since that often allows for a very stark composition that focuses all attention on a certain structure.
“If the sky is part of a composition, there must be something of interest in it to keep the viewer interested.”
Korean photographers who interest me:
1) Atta Kim
2) 김 학수. Mr. Kim is a personal choice for me since he and I are friends. I met him at the Suncheon Photo Club sometime in 2009. His work is colorful and contemporary, though uniquely his. One cannot be in the city of Suncheon itself without seeing his photography.
1) I am involved in a meeting with a company that is using and wants to continue to use my work for its website. This arrangement will allow for my commercial work to be marketed.
2) I’ve recently been asked to contribute photos to complement the written articles for the Gwangju News magazine.
3) I am always for abstract compositions that promote the design elements and even irony. I’m always looking at the old, aged, and decaying structures that have their own special beauty.
I have exhibited in galleries and other venues in the western United States. I currently have two semi-permanent exhibitions; one in the states and the other in Suncheon. I will have an opportunity to have another semi-permanent exhibition of my work in Suncheon at the end of 2010 or the beginning of 2011. Some of my work has won awards, plus some of my work has been published.
1) 금당 남부교회 — I have exhibited and sold some of my work here during a previous exhibition. The next exhibit is scheduled to begin late this year or the beginning of 2011.
2) Veronica ELS — This is a very personal exhibition in this semi-public venue. At present this is a modest collection. By appointment only as this is not only a business site, it is a residence also. Email contact: firstname.lastname@example.org (Yes, it’s Latin and yes it’s long).
DETAILS OF FAVORITE PHOTOS- Wow, where can I begin? There are a couple of Korean figure nude models I’ve worked with that have produced a couple of great images of note. Of the pieces submitted I will discuss four:
“Grandmother’s Wish” - The well known waterfall park on Jeju Island is the setting. The subject darted from one spot to another trying to view something of interest to her. The feeling of loneliness prevails.
“Low Tide” - Waeun Beach at Suncheon Bay is the location of this shot. I was on the mud flats for this one. A sense of patience and repetition and the finality of one’s fate impresses me with this composition. I can say I like this one a lot.
The color photo titled “Dwindling” (first above) won a Nominee in Nature award in the 2010 Photography Masters Cup/International Color Awards competition. It will be published sometime in December 2010. This was taken in Prescott, Arizona a week before I arrived in South Korea. It addresses the continued drought in Arizona that has been plaguing the state for several years.
Thank you Mark. Scroll down to see more of his great work.
I’ve been fortunate to have worked with more than a few Korean figure models in South Korea. While professional each has collaborated with a creative and artistic flair to assist in creating something worthwhile and lasting.
Please contact me if interested in modeling and/or purchasing any of my work for private or public display. I also do work by commission.
My photography can be found on my website: Photography by Mark Eaton
I am a member of the International Artists Community, which is based in Seoul, South Korea. See some more of my work and the work of the other artists at IAC: International Artists Community
My email: email@example.com
All photographs: © Mark Eaton