Interview#2 Mark Flood
How old are you?
My shoes are size 10.
Where are you from?
A village north of Neverland nestled between a spooky forest and a deep river.
What kind of photographic equipment do you use?
Currently, I own a Canon 7D, a Nikon F3, a Canon EOS 3 and a Canon Ixus70. I also like using the Mamiya RZ67.
What do you do when you are not shooting?
All kinds of boring stuff like reading, visiting art galleries, meeting friends, hanging out in coffee shops, watching movies and browsing in flea markets.
What was the first photograph you were proud of?
I was really into Sci-Fi from an early age, I think it was a shot of a toy spaceship that I’d suspended with thread, hanging over a large oval mirror in the back garden. I shot the reflection which made it look as if it was landing. Of course, it was a terrible forgery, but I didn’t see it that way, it was another perspective of reality.
How much preparation is there behind your photographs?
Well, there’s no preparation at all regarding the images in “Blank Diary”. Every image is random - an instant capture. But, if by chance the object is a tree and the light is too hard, I may re-shoot it. I love a flat grey sky. I’m always spontaneously reacting to what I see in daily life, however, I will execute new projects with controlled environments where the image content is planned, where detail becomes even more critical. I want to explore storytelling.
Have you ever done sacrifices or compromises as a photographer?
I embrace compromises and mistakes. I don’t believe in seeking the ‘perfect’ image. No matter how much one tries to control events, there’s always something askew. In fact, random glitches can add something beautiful to the image. I’m open for everything.
What is your safe place?
A coffee bar where I daydream, observe the hustle and bustle and make notes over a double espresso.
Do you have any obsessions?
This question has obsessed me… Gosh - a truckload! But, what should I reveal and what should I hide? If a barista has exceeded the precise measure for a double espresso or served it in a cold cup I always complain. I never drink coffee at home, so I expect a consistent quality, it’s important because it set things in motion if the espresso is good. My curiosity and voyeurism is rampant, but I don’t think it’s something I should worry about. I consider all children to be predatory voyeurs - they don’t miss a trick. Within the act of looking, I keep asking myself what am I looking for, and if I find something that interests me, I question how I should look at it, how should I frame it? However, I quite often reject images that momentarily held my attention at first glance. Presence and absence are obsessions, alienation, identity, duality and ambiguity.
Is there an artist you’ll gladly collaborate with or that you regard with esteem?
I’d love a cameo in a Cohen Brothers movie. Something dark and twisted. Avedon, Lartigue, Leiter, Billingham, Bellmer, Witkin, Stieglitz, Penn, Newton, Halsman and Klein are artists I revere. However, collaborating with musicians in the way that Anton Corbijn has with Depeche Mode, using still and moving images to define the band fascinates me. This would be a great challenge - preferably with a raw undiscovered group.
▶ The human figure is the most notably absent in your photographs, but the focus is on the objects shaped by it. Is it a way to talk about it in a oblique way, or are you more interested in the formal feature of things?
“Blank Diary” started as a project to document the city where I live, the intention was to ignore the traditional cultural icons used by tourist organizations and publishers. I wanted to record the neglected nooks and crannies, details of objects or places that aren’t important, things that are insignificant or useless. I also wanted to explore the confines of using a pocket camera, shooting spontaneously what I’m confronted with. It’s a street map without an index, it’s an intimate human map of anonymous lives. Recently, I started capturing reflections of myself on various surfaces, later, I will explore self-portraiture with more candour. I appear interested in the formal feature of things, surfaces and textures are enchanting, but I’m always looking for images hidden within images, or if there’s another meaning or message within a photograph. For example : I shot an old mattress on the street that was wet and wrinkled, but what I saw was a stack of bones, it was as if human remains were trying to escape from inside the mattress. I’m a sensualist, every time I see a “don’t touch” sign beside a sculpture I immediately want to run my hand over it in defiance. There’s an idea I have based on the Renaissance which is figurative yet complicated to execute because I need a dedicated space where I can construct sets and then there’s the problem of finding the right models. It’s a question of when things fall into place, rather than pushing it.
[If you want to see more, find him on www.blankdiary.tumblr.com and on www.foveaardour.tumblr.com]