Lonely Planet photographer file: Mark Newman
Best known for his wildlife photography and in particular, bears, of all descriptions – polar, brown, and sun, Mark Newman talks to LPI about his world of travel photography.
Name: Mark Newman
Equipment: I use all Nikon equipment, currently a D300 body, with my main two lenses being the 18-200 and 80-400, both image stabilized. I rarely use a tripod since switching to IS lenses, except for night shooting.
How much time do you spend travelling? I spend at least half the year on the road, most of it within North America. I am based in Alaska but keep a camper in Las Vegas so I can easily fly down there from Anchorage and live out of the vehicle while photographing the western US.
What is your favourite subject? I started out photographing wildlife exclusively but in recent years have branched out into travel photography and scenics as well. My passion, though, is for wildlife, which I photograph mainly in national parks. I have covered all seven continents throughout the past three decades.
What’s your best shot? My best photograph is of a mother brown bear and her three cubs all standing in tall grass, taken on the Alaska peninsula. The babies were small enough to be invisible in the grass at first. The mother stood to look around and then each 4 month old cub stood, one after the other, popping up like a jack-in-the-box. An equal favorite of mine is my first published photograph, taken in Badlands National Park in December, 1976, of a bull bison standing broadside silhouetted against the rising sun. The image was used as a cover on Audubon Magazine in 1977.
What was your big break? I didn’t have any one big break. Starting in 1977 I have worked with multiple stock agencies, providing a continuous stream of images over the years, with more and more images getting published as a result of volume and wide exposure. At some point in the career of any stock shooter you reach a critical mass at which point enough material is getting published on a regular basis to consider yourself successful in the field. I reached that point sometime in the late 1980′s.
Tips for budding photographers: Shooting good images is the easy part of the photo business. There are thousands of very talented photographers. The tricky part of surviving in the field is marketing. For me what has worked best is establishing long lasting relationships with many stock agencies. I currently supply 15 agencies with images on a regular basis, and have in the past worked simultaneously with as many as 35 agencies at the same time. I always try to be prompt, responsive and reliable and keep up a good communication, which is more easily accomplished in this digital age.
Recent assignments: Recently I have become involved in authoring and photographing children’s books. Last month Henry Holt Books released my new book, Polar Bears, and they sent me on my most recent assignment, to Vietnam and China, to photograph for and write a book about moon bears (the Asiatic black bear). In the past I co-authored two books, Bears Of The World, and Kangaroos: The Marvelous Mob, both published by Facts On File of New York.
My favorite place to photograph is East Africa. For a wildlife photographer that hardly needs an explanation.
See Mark’s library on Lonely Planet Images.
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