INTERVIEW WITH COMMERCIAL AND FASHION PHOTOGRAPHER MARCUS MAY
Living Happy. Living His Dream.
Marcus was imbued with the gift of creativity at a young age.
“I used to be very interested in my father’s old cameras from the 50s. At the age of 12, I got my own reflex camera which was my constant companion during the analogue age. Since then I grappled creatively with my environment and life in general.”
Even during his school years, Marcus was certain that he wanted to become a photographer. After achieving his A Level education qualifications, Marcus started working for an advertising photographer.
“After my time as a photographer’s assistant, I went to Paris to study at a language college. It is a fabulous city. At the beginning I went round all the German photographers and assisted some of them. With this, the big wide international world of photography opened up for me. During my time in Paris I frequently met many international photographers. I felt particularly inspired by Petre Lindbergh and Mario Testino.”
As a professional photographer, Marcus has graced the editorial pages of HUF Magazine and shot for many well-known companies; C&A, Audi, Mastercard, Red Bull and Tchibo, et al. HUF Magazine asked Marcus to explain his creative process through to completion and the acclaim it necessarily attracts.
“Right from the beginning I work thoroughly, logistically, conceptually as well as creatively. It can be between one or two months or just up to the next day.”
“The beauty in photography is the continuation of a creative process. Good photography underlines an idea and at the same time gives it its very own character.”
“In people-photography I particularly like the closeness to people and their personality. My role is to convey an idea and lead my models – then, special experiences and moments in my work develop constantly.”
[When behind the lens,] “I think about the story I am about to tell in pictures. It is creativity live. I find it particularly exciting to approach every job individually as a challenge in form and content.”
“Many times there are special experiences and moments in my work. I always try to be a part of the story; a kind of spectator, a story teller who captures the momentary aspects.”
“My team consists of great people. Assistants, stylists, hair and makeup professionals – they are all true artists. With some of them I work as often as I can and really appreciate their work. Indeed, you have to have a big ego on set, but it is also important to listen to others’ opinions and to be responsive to them. My work is the best when my surrounding and my teamwork is harmonious.”
“I always try to do my work to the highest standard; so well that I would be happy to put them in my portfolio. I love to create pictures which touch emotions, which you cannot forget and which tell a story.”
When enthusiasts learn, develop and become professionals, they risk losing creativity – instead, focusing on technology. It is an easy trap to fall into, focusing on the camera and equipment at the expense of the creativity both in front of the lens and, behind it, in the They must also steer clear of procrastination and the distraction of certain undeserved criticism. Marcus has skillfully avoided such pitfalls.
“Criticism can also be constructive and often enriching conversations develop. It is better to get some criticism than no response at all.”
“I use a Canon 5D Mark III; it offers me flexible-working in order to capture the perfect moment.” When it comes to extra equipment, “Whatever I need for a specific job, I borrow.”
Success courts Marcus. It’s his ability to meet and exceed the expectations of clients, be they clothing brands or others. Being on-brand with messaging and yet creatively innovative is a skill that has won Marcus deserved acclaim.
“Success means (to me) to be able to discover things and tell my stories in a pictorial way. Unfortunately nowadays so much of the quality is lost due to austerity measures. In the end, the only thing which counts is what comes across, not how you got there. It is about convincing the viewer, the customer, of the radiance of the pictures. The motivation for creativity is fun; to use every opportunity to bring the picture to life which developed in my mind, is hugely satisfying. You have to think in stories in order to create pictures. The photographer is like the film director who tells the whole story in one picture. I would say, the ones I like the most are those where the emotional components are coming across vividly, for example in the Langnese or Red Bull adverts.”
Marcus’ favourite photographs capture authenticity, joy and passion. Qualities that his customers love.
“Every day is a new day. Each is full of unforeseeable surprises. Creative, varied, challenging and interesting. To learn to detect new ideas every day – that is success.”
As a boy, Marcus dreamed of becoming a photographer. He was encouraged by his father to dream big, indeed Marcus’ first paid shoot was capturing his father’s image for the back cover of his book. With the support of his father, mentors, colleagues and clients, it’s true when Marcus now says: “I must say: I am living my dream.”