International photographer Mark Mawson may look mildly like Willem Dafoe and he may have a strong artistic streak in him, but it’s there that that the similarities end. For one thing, Mawson’s an award-winning photographer who has worked for newspapers, agencies and magazines around the world and has shot celebrities like Paris Hilton, Kelly Price and Samuel L. Jackson; secondly, he’s not creepy as hell.
Mawson’s career as a photographer has circled from purely commercial, to artistic, to a blend of both. Picking up his first camera, his father’s 35mm reflex, at 6 (and promptly breaking it), Mawson’s always had a fascination with light, shadow and cameras. He began his career as a photojournalist working for papers like The Times, Today, Daily Mail, and The Mail On Sunday; however after several years of work, he felt a hole in his life and left the journalism world to pursue more creative projects. Mawson began posting his own artistic projects, which helped him gain notice in the advertising and fashion world, where he was allowed more free reign to explore himself creatively.
Inspired by artists like Cavaggio and Edward Hopper, Mawson began delving deep into his fascination with “organic forms and alien worlds created by… shapes and colours,” eventually developing his seminal photo sets, Underwater and the Aqueous series.
In Underwater, Mawson plunges the viewer into a mysterious, murky underworld where a parade of graceful submerged dancers elegantly twist and turn in the shadowy depths. Shooting underwater, the models seem frozen in a moment of mournful contemplation, as if by leaping across the mirror-like surface they become captured forever in a moment, existing only in memory and the viewer’s mind.
The famous Aqueous series departs even further from normal reality. Consisting entirely of captures of ink falling into water, Mawson creates incredible images that evoke the dark coral growths at the bottom of the ocean, mysterious jellyfish-like creatures, and impossibly phosphorescent underwater clouds.
Mawson’s greatest skills as a photographer are an incredible sense of timing, infinite patience, and a razor sharp eye for composition. In all of his work, it is obvious that Mawson is a great, capable of turning the ordinary into the extraordinary. When asked in a recent interview for advice on how any young photographer can hope to achieve his level of artistic ability, Mawson had only this to say: “If it’s in your blood and you love [it], then go for it & stick at it even when times are tough. If you’re in it because it sounds glamorous then forget it.”
You can view Mawson’s work on his official website, or in galleries around the world.