Nov 04, 2019
Mark is a Dutch self-taught photographer who uses photography as a catharsis to fight anxiety and depression. Through his series “It’s when we’re together that I’m alone”, Mark discovered that while he thought that he was trying to escape the world and the people around him, all of he was running away from was himself, helping him to give meaning and make sense of his work. In his minimal and expressive compositions, we can see Mark's anxieties, but at the same time we can realise that beauty can be found everywhere, in the small details.
am - First of all thank you very much for your contribution to our project. Can you please introduce yourself for us?
MK - My name is Mark, born and raised in The Netherlands but at home on the road. I studied hospitality management and have worked in various countries and numerous restaurants before arriving to where I am now: ready to make the switch to become a full-time photographer and artist. Apart from a two day ‘how do I hold my camera and what button do I push to expose’-course I have no degree in photography.
am - How did you start in photography?
MK - I should thank an ex-girlfriend for that. She wanted to become a photographer and I decided to buy a camera so we could work together on projects. Her enthusiasm aroused my curiosity. Eventually we broke up and I didn’t touch the camera for a couple of years. I picked it up again when I started to travel more frequently, particularly to Spain, where I discovered beauty in places I’d never expected it to exist.
am - What is "It’s when we’re together that I’m alone" about?
MK - For over five years I’ve been struggling with anxiety and depression, which heavily impacted my life, and with that my photography of course. Most of the time this was in a very negative, paralysing way that impeded me from working on my career or projects, resulting in multiple periods of abandoning my camera in general. Something that always did make me happy was traveling. On the last two trips I made to one of my favourite places in Spain something changed. While normally I really enjoyed being away from the crowds, my ordinary life back home, driving mile after mile in search of subject matter, I didn’t experience this pleasure anymore either, a discovery that really crushed me. After a few months I looked at the images and I recognised a pattern and discovered the meaning they had in the process of fighting my condition. The images sort of clicked into an understanding of how I tried to escape the world and the people around me, while all I was running away from, was myself. And while on the surface everything can look fine, especially to your environment, the emptiness in these images reflects the void I was living in at that time. I’m hoping to create a little more understanding about depression and inspire people to speak up about their feelings.
am - What inspires your work?
MK - Curiosity and a strong belief that beauty is all around us as long as we keep our eyes open to discover it.
am - How would you describe your visual language?
MK - I love to find soft tones and balanced compositions in every imaginable circumstances and environments.
am - Who are your favourite photographers / artists?
MK - If at gunpoint I had to pick one it’d would be Luigi Ghirri. The way he captured the everyday is an example of how I’d like to experience the world around me. More recently I saw a tremendous long term project by Vasantha Yogananthan called "A Myth of Two Souls", a modern, mixed media retelling of an epic Indian travel tale. But I also really enjoy the work of people such as Salva Lopez, Hayley Eichenbaum or Matthieu Paley. I don’t like to limit myself to one specific trend, genre or style, as I believe that the way we see the world should be inspired by multiple perspectives.
am - What’s your favourite movie?
MK - Anything by Wes Anderson (ok and "Requiem for a Dream" by Darren Aronofsky because it’s devastating).
am - What is your favourite photo book?
MK - "A Period of Juvenile Prosperity" by Mike Brodie. The sense of freedom in these images is incredible, the story of the photographer himself is very moving.
am - Thank you very much for your time and your contribution to analog magazine.
All images © Mark Rammers