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.