A Brief Moment With Photographer Mark Gellineau

As an aspiring fashion photographer, I spend an inordinate amount of time looking at pictures. Whether it be in magazines or online, I try to find photographs that inspire me or evoke a strong emotion. I am thrilled to say that I have found both of these things in a vast majority of Mark Gellineau's work.

For those who know me, my getting excited about something isn't anything new or even anything necessarily interesting. With my tendency towards extreme giddiness, very few of my friends take me seriously anymore when I rent about my latest fascination. The difference between then and now, is that I have genuine reason to be excited. Mark's work is emotive and touching; something that appeals to my hidden sensibilities. His composition and eye for detail help him to create images that arouse such tangible sentiments, that it is almost impossible not to admire his obvious talent.

It's hard to believe that Mark has only been behind the camera for 3 years. It's even harder to believe that he is almost completely self taught. After completing his high-school education, and receiving his first DSLR camera, he discovered his passion for photography. In the years since, he has managed to simultaneously hone his craft and gain recognition for his developing talents.

A citizen of Trinidad and Tobago, Mark has managed to use his limited resources to create a personal style of photography that is distinct and tasteful. Though he pursues photography full-time, he has refrained from obtaining formal training, feeling that the academic route would dilute his uniqueness and distinguishable individuality. He believes that learning the craft on his own has given him a deeper sense of pride and a greater personal connection to his work. Though he has considered applying to schools at a later date, he thinks that for now, he is doing well on his own.

Mark credits much of his growing skills to his mentors Wyatt GalleryMark Lyndersay and Brendan Bhagan. Between them, he gets constant feedback, which he says has significantly contributed to his growing skill set. When he first began, the reason photography appealed to Mark was his tendency to identify patterns in the spaces around him. He soon began focusing in on the smaller "pictures" and elected to "take away a piece of the scenes" that he saw. Though he now shoots mainly people and portraits, he began photographing animals and the environment around him, capturing the places he'd been and the things he'd seen. He quickly grew preoccupied with "pocketing the space around him" and " stealing pieces of time.".

As for his inspirations, Mark says that he draws his inspiration from the people that he photographs. He says that when he shoots people, the pictures he takes are generally the best pictures they have ever seen of themselves and it makes them feel good, in turning making him feel good. With respect to the frequency of his work, Mark says that creating is not optional for him and that he has to work or he falls into a funk. He hopes that with persistance he can one day join the ranks of other internationally known black photographers.

Mark's method is dynamic. He seldom has a very concrete idea of what he wants to capture when he goes into a shoot, preferring simply to try to capture people he thinks are interesting. He chooses to shoot people who are either very outgoing and full of character, or more quiet and shy types in an attempt to "pull away their social masks."

An avid flickr user, Mark gets his ideas for shoots from other photographs he might see. While he says he has only ever wanted to replicate a photograph wholesale on one occasion, he will often try to mimic different aspects of pictures that he admires. Additionally, he might see a location he finds fascinating and resolve to shoot there, or he may feel compelled to shoot a particular person because of their features.

Black and White is Mark's favourite medium. Preferring it to colour photography, he says that the lack of colour infuses a greater sense of identity into his work. He thinks that unless color enhances the interpretation of a photograph, it should remain in black and white. His favorite collections, Fragments and Soul Windows are both in black and white.

Mark has big dreams. He hopes that one day he will be successful enough to have the luxury of being discriminating about which jobs he takes. He hopes to own his own studio one day, and to have the resources to help other young photographers who are in the position he is in now.

Mark Gellineau's work is the kind that makes you stop and think. He creates images that are so tantalizing and palpable that they cannot be ignored. I am confident that he will only continue to find success.