Below is the long, boring, and mostly true tale of how me and the camera came to be. Read at your own detriment.
"Hi, my name is Mark and I am an addict."
This really isn't new news to anyone that knows me. The truth is that I have been suffering from FreshAiraholism© since I was just a wee lad and other than a few slip ups, I have pretty much made zero steps towards recovery in the past several decades since realizing I have had a problem. Of course it's not all my fault (it never is), as there have been several enablers that have helped to "nourish and strengthen" my addiction. One of those is/was my grandfather, Leroy (who is now taking an indefinite dirt nap in the rich, red soil of the southwest). I spent many of my summers growing up, getting shipped from good ole Orem, Utah down to the Four Corners area as soon as school got out to live with my grandparents. During most of those years, Leroy and Verna lived at and managed various trading posts all over the Navajo reservation. This is where I really started to fall in love with being outside and exploring. My grandpa would often pack up some crackers, a few cans of Vienna sausages (I didn't fall in love with those), and some fishing poles. We would then hop in his 1978 International Scout Terra, roll down the windows, and drive off down the road without a care in the world. And it didn't matter if we were headed up into the cool, crisp pines and aspens of the creek laden San Juan Mountains or the red sandy, ancient pottery-scattered banks of the San Juan River...we always had a heck/hell of a good time and I got to see a lot of unbelievable country.
It wasn't until a few years later that my love for being outside coupled itself with an old, dusty Canon AE-1 that I had found lying in my moms drawer. The two hit it off and subsequently started dating. Naturally, after a few weeks, they got married and immediately started having babies together. As you can imagine...those babies were not very cute. Having said that, the two kept at it as I continued exploring the outsides and snapping away, all the while accumulating a hot mess of horrible pictures. Then, in my junior year of high school, was when I really made a connection with photography. I vividly remember standing in in the dim, red-lit dark-room of my high school, all bright-eyed and bushy tailed after pulling out an image of Mooney Falls from the fixer bath and holding it up with a pair of tongs, thinking to myself "this is what I want to do...I want to create more if this." What I didn't realize though, was how awful my imaging was at the time. I didn't really know any better though and if my memory serves me right, I am not sure anyone knew much of anything back in those days. The year was 1998 and most roads weren't even paved yet. However, the one thing I am certain of is that digital cameras weren't a thing yet, nor were cell phones, and sadly neither was Instagram with all of it's super extra duper inspiring photos of bright colored hammocks strung out right smack dab in front of every possible iconic landscape that ever was...but I guess that is what life is about these days, so lets just go with it. #livefolk #totally (if you happen to ever create the "face-palm" emoji, then please let me know because this would be an appropriate place to insert it.)
ANYWAYS, back to the story. I went on to college where I proudly declared Photography as my first major. After trudging through a few semesters, doubt crept in and I realized that a horrible mistake had been made. I immediately decided to switch to a major that I thought would be more viable at providing a stable living for my future family...Psychology! (this is an appropriate spot to insert another "face palm" emoji). Despite having given up on snapping pics as a career (along with all my other dreams), I kept taking pictures as a hobbyist and would get gigs here and there shooting this's and that's for people as well as my own personal stuff. I'll also say that my most prized images from that era are not the "epic" adventure/landscape shots or the once-in-a-lifetime candid shots from a small orphanage in the mountains of Peru, etc. but rather just all the random snaps I took of my daughters as they were growing up and experiencing the different parts of life for the first time. There is something very powerful about looking at a quality image taken of a forgotten moment many years ago. It transports you back in time and you relive that moment in an almost more vibrant and real way than the actual moment itself. Hmmm, well...I digress again. But the point is that while old snapshots are fun to look at, old, "well taken" snapshots are a million times "funner" to look at and it really doesn't take a whole lot to start taking better compostitions.
So, after I graduated with a super useful bachelors degree in Psycology, I decided to attend graduate school in hopes to increase my new, college-backed starting wage to more than $3 dollars an hour. Sadly, I decided to sell all of my camera gear to help finance graduate school (the which I never finished btw, insert a "thank god" emoji). I left graad school to pursue an opportunity in real estate, the which I have worked in to this very day. However, as the years passed by I had found that I wasn't getting outside nearly as much as I had used to. It seemed like I was always inundated with work, trying my best to provide for and raise two of the most darling gals in existence (my daughters). Most any free time that I had was usually spent catching up on work or starting another project around the house that would get half way done before eventually being relegated to the list of 10 year goals. Life had become pretty exhausting to say the least and everything just seemed a tad bit more "monochromatic" than it used to be.
It was while vacuuming my house for the 9,000th time one week (it's my therapy), that I realized I had a problem. I was falling "on" the wagon again and had slowly become a recovering FreshAiroholic©. I was scared, I didn't know where to turn. All I knew was that I needed more fresh air in my life. I needed to get back outside, up on the ridges of the mountains and back down in the canyons of the desert. After an emergency meeting with my board of directors (my two super fierce guard dogs- aka 10 lb micro golden doodles), it was decided that I should re-invest in some camera gear with the hope that it would compel me to start getting outside more often in order to get my fresh air fix. Needless to say...it worked. And this gallery is the proof in the pudding
Now- If you are still reading this, then major kudos to you, seriously. This may possibly be the longest "About" page of all time and arguably just as riveting as the book of Leviticus. As a consolation prize for having suffered through this drivel, I would like to extend 25% off any single order. Email me directly, let me know which part you disliked the most, and I'll get you sorted with a discount code. Thanks again for stopping by!!! For real though, mucho thankos from me to you.