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HOT Chat: Mark Lobo, Photographer

MarkLobo-SelfPortraitToday’s post is a great interview with Brisbane based photographer Mark Lobo. I came across Mark’s work through The Colour and was immediately impressed by the saturated colours and vital personalities he captured in his work. He’s also living the dream as a full time professional photographer. You can follow Mark on Twitter here. Thanks Mark!

Mark, tell me a bit more about your background and how you came to become a professional photographer?

My interest in photography probably started when I was about 5, when my older sister said her dream in life was to become a photographer.  Soon came Christmas and she received a red plastic 35mm camera as a present.  With that camera, still unable to grab the concept, I apparently took my first photograph by pointing it at the ground and snapping someone’s shoe.BNEProject13

Since then, whether it is through art, music or design, I’ve always been involved in creating something.  After high school, I made an odd decision to pursue studies in IT, and soon enough landed a job writing software and letting my creativity fade away.  By my 2nd year, I could feel the weight of the corporate world crushing my soul and I realised it definitely wasn’t for me.  I started looking for an escape and a change.  That change came through turning my love of photography into a sustainable business.

So I quit my job and I haven’t looked back!

How would you describe your photographic style?

I have a diverse range of styles that I like to shoot in, but I really like to push a ‘candid’ or ‘natural’ approach when working with people.  To me, photography is a projection of who a person really is, rather than how they want to be perceived.  I love to work outdoors or on site with someone in their own environment, capturing a comfortable natural portrait and telling a story.

BNEProject09Your current project is simply called BNE. What is it about?

The BNE project was initially designed to capture the portraits and tell the stories of those that sparked my own interest and inspiration.  During the first exhibit of the images in a café, I realised that connections could be drawn between each of the subjects in the series.

I was fascinated by this visual illustration of ‘six degrees of separation’, witnessed by the residents of Brisbane almost far too often, and decided to let the project evolve and develop into something more ambitious.  Rather than just focusing on capturing portraits of my own personal inspirations, I asked each of my subjects to select the people who spurred them to greater creativity, allowing for the inclusion of not only those that inspired myself, but others too.

Through the BNE project I hope to combine a strong visual style with inspirational content and a message that we are all human and we are all connected.

Have you faced any challenges getting the project off the ground? BNEProject04

As the direction of the shoot moves towards people I don’t know directly, reflecting their character in a photo becomes a real challenge.  I don’t want to just shoot a portrait in a space and claim it’s full of meaning; I want to tell a story about the person.  As hard as this can be initially, I enjoy the process of meeting someone new and learning about what they love and what drives them.  I find this challenge to be one of the greatest things about the project.

What are your next plans for BNE?

I want BNE to be more than just a photographic series.  Although the photographic part of the project is still in progress, I intend on incorporating another passion of mine into the project. Through the use of social media and digital storytelling, I hope to experiment with the combination of photography, audio and video to form short six minute “digital stories”.

BNEProject12Each “story” will include a key set of interview questions revolving around the themes of “inspiration” and “being human”.  Video and audio documenting the life or passions of the individual will also help illustrate each piece. The project will continue for 6 rounds or “degrees” focussing on creating 2 portraits for each subject as well as the digital story to accompany it.  I’m currently researching ways to exhibit the series as an interactive exhibition, both on and offline.

What other future projects or ideas have you got in mind?

I always have a few projects going at any point in time! I recently started a new project called VonVintage.  Put simply, it stands for Vintage on Vintage, which is exactly how I intend to shoot it: Vintage content, shot on a Vintage camera.  Through its use in preservation and storytelling, photography can be a powerful tool.  Coupled with an artistic approach, I hope VonVintage can help bring back some value to beautiful vintage design, film photography and the keepsakes of the past.

I currently have a collection of Von Vintage photography shot by both myself and others on a blog at: www.vonvintage.com/scrapbook .BNEProject14

Where do you turn for art and photography inspiration?

Apart from the people of the BNE project, the internet is probably my biggest source of inspiration.  It’s nerdy, but true.  Websites like flickr, ffffound, vimeo and even twitter, with the ability to connect and learn from photographers all around the world, makes it an unlimited source of inspiration for me.

Finally, what is your tip for what’s HOT in Brisbane?

I love going to breakfast at the Cottage Garden Nursery (999 Stanley St, East Brisbane +61 7 3891 7999).  I recommend the French toast!

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Comments are disallowed for this post.

  1. HOT indeed. Great interview. My inspiration for the day.


    Posted by Mishy Lane
    Twitter: MishyLane
    | February 19, 2010, 9:59 am
  2. Thanks Mishy! Maybe when Mark asks to take your photo you can say that he is your inspiration, and have your photo taken together!

    Jetsetting Joyce

    Posted by Jetsetting Joyce | February 22, 2010, 4:18 pm
  3. We stumbled over here coming from a different page and thought I
    might check things out. I like what I see so now i’m following you. Look forward to looking over your web page again.

    Posted by Allison | October 3, 2012, 1:29 am

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