Mark Clinton has accomplished a lot more than most people his age. The Sydney born creative has gone from a small-time photographer to one of the most sought after international lifestyle photographers. He’s worked for some of the biggest brands, tourism boards, airlines and more, and been able to travel the world in doing so.
We caught up with Mark in Bondi. Get to know him, and some of his favourite work, below.
Let's start at the beginning. When did you first get into Photography?
I grew up in Sydney so like most kids growing up by the ocean surfing played an integral roll to my coming of age. I soon found out I wasn't cut out to be a star athlete myself, so I picked up a camera instead.
You live in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney now, where did you grow up?
I grew up on the Northern Beaches, about 15 minutes from Manly. I made the move to the East about 3 years ago. Living in Bronte strikes that fine balance of being close to the city yet still having that village feel, one element I was looking for when I left the Northern Beaches.
When did you realise you could make a career out of it?
I was 21 and working as a teachers aide. I'd always treated photography as a hobby with no means to pursue a career. As a handful of jobs within the surf industry increased to work in the lifestyle and tourism space off the back of a recent travel stint, I started to weigh up my options. I soon made the leap and haven't looked back since.
What's your go-to set up? (Camera)
I have 3 cameras on rotation. The Fuji GFX50 is the medium format workhorse, Canon 5DIV is for sport + lifestyle and the Fuji X100F is thy point and shoot.
I recently read about your recent shoot with professional skiers Jossi Wells and Fraser McDougall. You're relatively fresh to the ski industry, how did you find working in that type of environment?
It's all being very spontaneous. Up until 4 years ago, I'd never been to the snow. After being offered to come back for winter whilst on a surf mission in NZ, I soon found myself clipped into a pair of skis and being coached by Fraser. The learning curve has been fierce with 2 knee reconstructions along the way but that's been offset by the skills I've learned whilst being free in the mountains.
You shoot a lot in the outdoors and in the elements, has this always been a passion?
Absolutely. Stemming from my love for shooting surfing, I soon realised the personal effects of being outdoors - a positive change in my own well-being.
What are the challenges when shooting in the elements?
The biggest challenge is the weather. Having a general understanding of the local climate before you head out is a must. There's something very humbling about being in a vast environment that you have no control of.
Favorite place you have traveled to shoot?
Visually I'm a huge fan of Norway, especially up in the fjords. In winter, the clouds sit so low and the light is so gentle and painterly.
You have worked with some of the biggest brands in the world. What makes a good client?
The unspoken agreement that no-one is elevated higher than the other on set. I love the feeling when everyone's working together for the best common goal.
When you are not shooting, what are you most likely doing?
Cycling, skiing and when I can stomach crowds surfing. Its motivating being tied to each as all of them have their own quirks and characters.
In the world of fashion we are always looking at trends and what other brands are doing, is this the same in the photographer world? Is there any photographers that really inspire you or get a lot of inspiration from?
Its hard not to admire other photographers but with social media playing a large role as photographers' portfolios I'm starting to see a lot of repetition in styles. I'm definitely no anomaly but I make a conscious effort not to get caught up by other's work. I'm a huge fan of both music and film, so I'm always been re-inspired by them.
Any mistakes you made early on in your career that you can look back on and laugh?
Following trends and worrying about what everyone else thought of me.
Lastly any quick bit of advice for someone who wants to make a name out of photography?
Look inside to what influences you. No one can reproduce your own experiences, so play off them.
From our season 1 collection, what style do you have on heavy rotation?
The oversized micro logo tees are always the first worn after a mass wash. Plus love the Utility 5K Jacket.
Lastly finish this sentence: I like getting back outdoors into the elements because....?
Of the positive outcome it has on the mind.