Location: Victor, Idaho
Mark Fisher is an outdoor adventure and lifestyle photographer based in Idaho. Not only is he a brilliant photographer, but he’s also exploring motion work. Along with his creative collaborators at Fisher Creative, he’s producing high-end work with the new generation of extreme sports athletes.
I went to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and studied German, International Relations and Environmental Studies. My photographic education began early in high school, shooting mostly on 35mm black-and-white film that I rolled myself, and developed and printed in the darkroom. Beginning in college, I began documenting my climbing and skiing adventures, and continued learning and honing my photography skills on my own. After college, I moved to Germany as a Fulbright Scholar and spent over a year apprenticing with a commercial photographer. I also worked at the Santa Fe Photographic Workshops and assisted with numerous photographic mentors throughout the years.
What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned either from a teacher or mentor?
I was told I’m good with people and that would make a great photographer. Building client relationships, mitigating tense situations, coordinating large and diverse groups toward a cohesive goal are super-important aspects of being a successful photographer.
What was your first photography job?
My first "real" job was a multiday commercial shoot for Atlas Snowshoes. Many years before that I began selling stock images to Patagonia, and those initial sales, as well as the encouragement of the photo editor, helped to give me confidence to continue pushing my own career.
What advice would you give to a photographer who is still in school?
Be prepared to work really hard and want it more than anyone else. Photography has always been competitive, and it has become increasingly so since digital photography has taken over. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Shoot what you’re passionate about; you will, as a result, create your best work. Challenge yourself to shoot a variety of subjects as you hone your style and skills. That said, don’t be above what you think is mundane or menial work as you launch your career. For instance, shooting weddings may not be your dream job, but it can teach you about working under pressure, handling tough, demanding clients, understanding the feeling of not being able to miss a shot and processing thousands of images in a tight turnaround time. It also teaches you to be creative about working in challenging lighting conditions and thinking on your toes.
What inspires you about photography?
I love the process of making images.
What makes you go out and shoot?
I love what I shoot and the planning of what goes into a shoot. I love making images, whether it’s still or motion content. I love interacting with clients and being challenged creatively. I really love every aspect of a shoot, from conception to finish. If I could only shoot every day, I’d be the happiest photographer on the planet. Sadly, shooting accounts for only about 20% of my job. That said, I could do without the editing.
What do you like best about the whole process?
I like the buildup and the big shoot days. I love the magical moments that happen serendipitously.
What do you think it takes to be succe
ssful in today’s challenging and competitive marketplace?
It takes a combination of risk, skill and resourcefulness, plus a dose of luck.
It also takes a ton of persistence, relationship-building and really tough skin. It’s not always the most talented photographers who succeed, but rather the ones who work the hardest.
To see more of Mark Fisher’s work, at www.fishercreative.com.