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Monalog Collective Artist Profile – Michael Marks

Michael Marks – A Day at the Lake

I have been making black and white film photographs and prints in the darkroom for 50 years, starting with a Kodak Brownie my parents gave me. I am largely a self-taught but have learned much from photographers such as John Sexton, Henry Gilpin, Steve, Szabo, Michael Smith, Paula Chamlee, and Frank Van Riper. My focus is on candid, street, documentary, and urban and small-town landscape using Leica rangefinders and single lens reflex cameras, as well as medium format rangefinders when appropriate.

My working method is very simple, which is what I want. I mostly use a normal focal length lens with a handheld light meter. Usually, I take a meter reading of my hand, open one stop, and forget about it unless the light changes. When necessary, I meter the brightest part of the scene, open three stops and make the picture. Simple! I make silver gelatin images on 8X10 fiber-based paper, but actual print sizes are smaller and vary based on artistic judgment. All prints are made using a Devere 4X5 enlarger equipped with a color head to give me the greatest contrast flexibility. They are toned for archival permanence, mounted on museum quality acid free board, and signed.

To me there is nothing quite like a black and white photograph made with traditional analog methods and materials. You can investigate the image and the small print size forces the viewer to look more closely.

To view this artists images, along with the full Monalog show – Visit Gallery 270

Here’s our discussion with Michael during our recent webinar with the Monalog Collective. The entire webinar is available here.

The full Monalog Collective Webinar featuring all the artists can be watched here.

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