Mark McGee, a photographer and artist deeply entrenched in the vibrant pulse of New York, crafts a world where art reflects the rawness of city street life. Beginning as a child roaming the bustling streets of New York with a camera in hand, McGee's journey has been one of continuous exploration and evolution. His first significant step into photography began in 1997, transforming into a profound passion as he delved into digital photography in 2010.
Mark’s blend of photo art and candid street captures, aims to convey profound messages, drawing from his personal experiences, including a period of homelessness. Influenced by the likes of Robert Frank and Man Ray, as well as the surrealists and cinematic art, McGee's work is a daily exploration of the visual stimulation that the city offers. His approach to photography, seeking to capture immediacy and emotional weight, reveals his dedication to being present and engaged with his surroundings.
As he looks forward, McGee remains committed to exploring, evolving, and embracing every day as a new project and opportunity for artistic expression. He focuses on staying sharp and receptive to the ever-changing tapestry of New York City. Join us as we delve into Mark McGee's world, where art and life intertwine in unexpected and inspiring ways.
Read on to learn more in an exclusive interview with Mark McGee:
East 48th. Brooklyn. Photographed by Mark McGee
Where and when did your journey with photography first begin?
The journey? It really began and continues in stages. In 1997, I got a Canon Instamatic for my birthday. It became a hobby, photography. Then in 2010, I discovered how to work my photos digitally which was a breakthrough and I haven't stopped since. Social media was and is, key.
Mark McGee, Utica Avenue. Photographed by Mark McGee
What is your favorite thing about living in New York city? -What I love most about living in New York is the atmosphere. A very, very photographable place to live. It's still exciting after 43 years of living here.
Mark McGee, The El. Williamsburg. Photographed by Mark McGee
What do you hope to convey through your photographs?
I like to convey messages. Basically, I do Photo art. The message is...art. When I was homeless for a while, I wanted to show what it was like from street level. That was in 2020. It gave me perspective and, I believe, it made me a better artist.
Mark McGee, The Sofa. Photographed by Mark McGee
Who are the photographers that have influenced your work the most, and in what ways?
Robert Frank is an influence. Man Ray. The surrealists. Art in advertising. Also cinema. I think I'm influenced by photography daily. There's so much visual stimulation. Probably too much.
What is the most valuable lesson you have learned through your experience as a photographer?
The most valuable lesson I have learned in photography is probably elusive to me yet. I have to be present. The images should be immediate and carry the weight of some quality of emotion. That's important to me.
Photo of the artist, Mark McGee
Looking forward, are there any techniques or projects you are hoping to pursue in your work?
My ambition now is just to keep exploring and working. I suppose there are techniques to try, but I'm sort of analogue and old-fashioned in many ways. Every day is a project, though that may seem an easy answer.
Where do you like to print your photos?
I print anyway that's available and good. I've done lots of printing at FedEx haha.
Mark McGee, Red chair in snow. Photographed by Mark McGee
Can you explain your studio or artistic working space?
My studio is a swivel salon chair next to a window in my bedroom. It's also a sidewalk or a bus. That's the great thing about cell phone photography. I have often worked on the go.
Mark McGee, Red Leaf. Photographed by Mark McGee
What photo was the hardest to get but most rewarding to see captured?
The most rewarding photos to take are mostly completely random. I don't really plan much. I just see what happens. The hardest to get are moments on the street. I never want to be noticed. I don't want people acting like they're on the spot or on tv. I want flow and naturalness.
Hooray - Photographed by Mark McGee
What inspires you to continue creating and exploring your craft?
Life itself inspires me to keep going in art. Art is life - really.
Mark McGee, Apartments. 3rd Avenue. Photographed by Mark McGee
Can you tell us about any shows or projects you have coming up?
Well, I have no art shows coming up at the moment. I'm open to showcasing my work around New York. I just keep working. It keeps me sharp.
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