by Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker is an advertising photographer with a unique style. He is a true master of selective focus and has a very interesting way of adding texture to the images – my guess is that he achieves this using textures in Photoshop. The front page image at his website is updated very often so it is worthwhile to visit regularly and see his new work. I always wonder how he can archive such a distinct use of selective focus. This picture is from his series “Cuba”.
“I do find that these road trips are healthy for the soul. Most of the time, it’s just me — one camera, a rental car with a sunroof, and a wad of cash. It’s all about exploring, and all about opening up your head. The Louisiana series had a slightly dark twist to it; it wasn’t really planned that way, it was just what we found. I remember this one morning — we left early, like 6am, south of New Orleans, and the sky was pitch black from a refinery fire. We pulled into a side street, negotiated our way through the closed roads, and found these mobile homes, nestled up next to the refinery. It was a beautiful scene — surreal — the stench in the air, the dramatic sky, and the run-down mobile home lot. Again, it’s about the discovery, and not knowing what you’re going to encounter around the next bend in the road. To extend out this discovery model, a big part of the photographic process for me is in the printmaking, and the post-production that I do on the files once I return home. I find that the digital camera is useful, because I can take a quick peek at the files, in the hotel room, each night. But I don’t do anything to them on the road; it just helps to see what I’ve gotten so far, in terms of what works, and what doesn’t. Usually, toward the end of the trip, toward the last day, you’ll feel it winding down, and maybe by that time, I’ll have a general feeling as to how I’ll treat the files, and what the overall look and mood is, of the whole group of images. I always think of them as part of a group; never a single picture — like a kid that shouldn’t be separated from his family. The treatment of the images takes them to a whole next level, and probably puts my thumbprint on them for good. Part of it, for me, is the image content, but another vital part is how they’re messed-with, after the fact. A big part of the work—the texturizing—is done inside of Photoshop, but then, once the prints come out of the printer, they’re also coated with Oleopasto, Wingel, or Ageing Varnish. Somehow, the Epson print just doesn’t seem finished until I’ve coated the print with a palette knife and brush, and touched with my hands. After that’s done, I give them to the framer for traditional framing.”-Mark Tucker from Makingroom Magazine.