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Being able to work and travel is a luxury only few of us get to experience. For our friend Mark it's been this way for a while, he recently showed us around his current spot of two years, Sri Lanka. We caught up with him just before we left to ask him about how he travels, what inspires him and the art to being a local away from home.
What do you do, and what are you working on at the moment?
I pretty much just wander around with a mind that can’t think past anything other than what’s in the frame or what’s on the waves. Everything is either about the photograph or about the surf – processing my mornings in cross-steps and my afternoons in 35mm.
At the moment I’m working on bringing it back to basics. To simply see, feel, & document. To experience life, to change my creative vision, change it back, change it once more...to create with freedom. I have a long list of personal projects I want to photograph – better get started.
How did you get to where you are today?
A combination of daydreaming after flipping through books by my favorite photographers and trust in the universe. There was something appealing about stories far from home. So I ended up leaving to Morocco, India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka – haven’t left Lanka Land since.
What book or film had the most impact on your life?
Steve McCurry – The Iconic Photographs Sebastiao Salgado – Exodus
Alex Webb – The Suffering of Light.
I would look at one of their photographs and imagine what it would be like to look out of a viewfinder at some of those moments. That was enough for me to want to go chase my own.
Where do you truly feel like a local? (Where do you call home)
Currently it’s this small village in a small bay on the south coast of Sri Lanka. I’ve never felt more like a local here.
When are you most inspired, or what inspires you?
I’m most inspired somewhere outside early, early in the morning, before everyone else is up. I feel I think more clearly in this moment and just let my thoughts flow...let inspiration lead me wherever it wants to.
But the right light, the right shadow, a fleeting moment on the street, ordinary life, unordinary life, a sunset surf, a really poetic photograph, a really good black and white photograph – these inspire me to shoot.
Tell us about your favorite place in the world?
On the nose of my longboard :)
What’s next on your travel list?
I’ll go pretty much anywhere, but Varanasi is definitely on the list (and so is the rest of Southeast Asia). I’d like to spend a longer period of time travelling in each place, you know? Get a feeling for it, question it, be amazed by it, understand it – and then start to create within that space.
What are your ‘must have’ items when travelling?
One digital camera, one or two film cameras, film, one lined A4 notebook, a small unlined A6 notebook (both spiral bound), post-it notes and a few fine-line markers. I never travel without these!
What’s your number one travel tip?
As a photographer: It’s not what you see, it’s the way you see it (paraphrasing Elliott Erwitt).
As a traveler: invest in a local sim card with data!