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Mark Sherratt Interview

EIZO interviews freelance photographer Mark Sherratt to find out more about the man behind the lens.

| Professional Interviewed
If you’re walking through the streets of London’s Archway and get stopped by a man with an oversized camera fear not, for it’s most probably Mark Sherratt. Balancing editorial, commercial and personal projects in his work as a freelance photographer, Sherratt is just as comfortable traveling the globe for images like his portraits of Indian train commuters, to shooting passers by on his home turf. But where ever he is in the world, the most precious commodity is time, and here he tells EIZO why.

Mark Sherratt Interview: City shot by Mark Sherratt

How has large format featured in your recent work?
I’ve shot a few projects with 4x5 now. I used it to take pictures of young people from Kings Cross for the YMCA and I’m in the process of shooting a project around where I live in Archway of people on the street. I stop people I find interesting and ask to take their portrait. I think the size and the unusualness of the camera makes people more interested in what I’m doing and more likely to say yes. It also makes me look a little less like a weirdo, hopefully.

And what are the results like?
I love the look and quality of large format film, you can certainly fake it with digital but I don’t think it’s ever quite the same. I also enjoy the challenge of shooting with the camera. It’s not easy getting a great shot with it and it is very satisfying when you do. I think the very nature of how you take a picture with large format causes you to slow down and think about it more, you also have to have a subject who’s willing to hang around.

What’s the most important thing you’ve learnt about taking a successful portrait?
It’s a very hard thing to do. There are so many different factors in play and I think really great ones are only achieved with the help of a little bit of magic. Having said that, I do think the magic can be encouraged.

One of the things I am learning at the moment is to give myself more time with a subject, to not rush things. Even if I'm taking a portrait on the street of a stranger and only really have a few moments, I try to use that time. Too often I’ve rushed a picture so as not to keep the subject waiting and realised afterwards how it could be so much better with just a few tweaks or if I’d waited for them to relax their face or move their body slightly, it all comes down to that right moment.

Mark Sherratt Interview: Portrait by Mark Sherratt

Are you more interested in capturing effects in camera?
I do try to get my effects in camera if I can, especially if I’m shooting on film. But every photo I use, including film, will be tweaked in Photoshop or Lightroom, which is were having an Eizo monitor really helps. Sometimes it’s just colours and tones, but I’m not averse to a little more hardcore Photoshopping if the image needs it. I use an Eizo CG276 everyday for all my work and it is fantastic. I trust the colour and there’s no way I could go back to anything else now.

Do you edit straight away?
More often for me I need a bit of time away from the panoramas so I can look at them with a bit of objectivity. I tend to edit my photos the day after a shoot (if I have the time) so that I can look at them with fresh eyes. It’s funny how often I will notice pictures that on the day didn’t stand out at all.

So hindsight can be a good tool too?
I think it works on a longer timescale as well. I recently went though photos from a trip to India a couple of years ago and found a number that I now really like that I didn’t pick out at the time at all. I have a bad habit of forgetting my life and I think that was one of the things that attracted me to photography in the first place, so I could use it as a substitute memory. I used to do a daily photo project, both to motivate myself to take more photos and to help me remember my day-to-day life. I did this for about 5 years, then had an exhibition of 1000 of the best photos. I have lots of shots of the more mundane things that seem like nothing at the time but when you look back tell the story of my life.

Mark Sherratt Interview: Portrait by Mark Sherratt

So it's not just a job to you?
Photography is essentially what motivates me to do most things, I’m not sure if this is healthy or not. I can’t really understand why someone would climb a mountain, travel round a county or explore a place without taking photos. But maybe I’m just a little strange.

About Mark Sherratt:
Mark Sherratt is an editorial and commercial photographer based in North London. After growing up in the cultural capital that is Stoke on Trent he moved to London and fell into the glamorous world of photography assisting. After learning valuable lessons such as how to wait for celebrities and wade through muddy ponds holding lights (as well slightly more useful stuff) he branched out on his own. He now shoots editorial for magazines such as Monocle and Boat and adverts for clients including the Post Office and Buxton water. He very much enjoys a cheese and tomato sandwich.

Mark Sherratt's kit list: 
  • Canon 5D MK III + various lenses
  • Phase One camera with a P30 Back + Lenses
  • Mamiya 7
  • MPP 5x4 camera
  • Macbook Pro
  • Most importantly an EIZO CG276
For more information on the EIZO CG276 and the other monitors available in the EIZO range, visit the EIZO website. 

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