Mark Roper · Arcane

This afternoon we preview Arcane by Mark Roper – NOT the moodboard for Alien: Covenant (though he might get a gig on the next sequel), but a uniquely engrossing new photographic series.

Originally from London, the accomplished lifestyle, travel, food and interiors photographer now calls Melbourne home, and is this week releasing his abstract prints through local gallery, Otomys.

Elle Murrell

From the meta new series, Arcane, by photographer Mark Roper. Pictured, Arcane 1. Photo – Mark Roper.

Arcane 3 is Mark’s favourite image from his first abstract series. ‘It took quite a few Polaroids before I got the result I was looking for,’ he says. ‘This is the first one that made me realise I had something interesting happening that was worth pursuing. Photo – Mark Roper.

The series was created taking Polaroid shots and later photographing these digitally. ‘I was missing the unpredictability of Polaroid and the colours it can produce,’ tells Mark. Arcane 5. Photo – Mark Roper.

The 12 different prints are offered in limited editions of eight, and are available in two size options, 110 x 147.05cm and 74.8 x 100cm.  Arcane 8. Photo – Mark Roper.

‘The surfaces of each shot are all on the Polaroid so luckily there wasn’t a lot of cleaning up,’ assures Mark. ‘Once I’d shot it I threw it away as Polaroid chemicals are quite nasty!’ Arcane 10. Photo – Mark Roper.

In his works, Mark sees mysterious worlds and galaxies (he’s been binging on Stranger Things, which may of had an influence!). Arcane 5. Photo – Mark Roper.

Arcane 18 from Mark Roper‘s experimental new photography series, Arcane. Photo – Mark Roper.

Elle Murrell
29th of May 2017

In the seven years since we last interviewed UK-born Melbourne-based Mark Roper, he’s been pursuing his career as a top commercial and editorial photographer, both at home and abroad. A departure from that bread-and-butter work, this engrossing new series is the personal project Mark has long wanted to create, but that until now, has always been sidelined.

Earlier in the year, Mark found a one-month window to make Arcane happen. And WOW! ‘This series developed spontaneously over the summer break, when I had some downtime. It has taken me a long time to get to the point where I am realising that I don’t have to overthink ideas and I can simply enjoy the process,’ tells the photographer.

The photographs-of-photographs were created using Polaroid film, chemicals and digital manipulation. Using an old medium-format field Polaroid camera, Mark first produced his base shot, and then lit and shot each of these photographs digitally on a medium-format large megapixel camera, with the original colours from the first Polaroid influencing the manipulation of the final image. This method offered some nostalgic unpredictability for the photographer, who mostly shoots digitally. ‘The final result started to look like other worlds and galaxies… I think I was watching too much Stranger Things at the time!’ he jokes.

Mark has always had a penchant for moody colour palettes, yet this is the first time he’s applied this signature to abstract compositions. ‘Being in the industry for quite a while now has allowed me to develop my own style,’ he reflects. ‘I think that’s what has empowered me to be more confident in my ideas and have the freedom to experiment.’

While Mark will continue to focus on his lifestyle, food, and interiors photography in 2017, he is keen to pursue this new direction into more experimental image making. ‘Finally getting this first exhibition completed has inspired me to continue investing more time in the abstract side of photography.’ We can’t wait to see where he takes things next.

Arcane by Mark Roper
567 Victoria Street
Abbotsford, Melbourne

UK-Born Melbourne-based photographer Mark Roper. Photo – Merlyn Reuter.

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