The Photography of Mark Preier
Interview by Jay Dougherty
Mark Preier is an up-and-coming photographer based out of Berlin, Germany. Preier divides his time between Berlin, where he spent much of his youth, and Japan, where his heart lies. This is the first interview he has granted.
Dougherty: What do you look for before taking a photograph?
Preier: I normally don’t bother much with preparations as I’m always in “photography standby mode,” taking my pocket camera along at all times. The subjects I’m interested in are subtle and can pop up pretty much anywhere, although I have a strong bias for urban settings.
Dougherty: How do you achieve special effects in photography, such as in your photograph “Pedestrian X-ing”:
Preier: There really is no special effect involved—I simply happened to be at the right place at the right time and realized that the ingredients of a good photo were about to converge. It was all about the right timing and a little luck.
Dougherty: Do you feel that camera equipment is key to taking good photographs?
Preier: It certainly helps to have good gear, but I’d say that having a “good eye” or a good feel for composition is much more important. And, nowadays, even cheap cameras can take quite decent pics. My everyday companion is a Casio Exilim EX-FH100, a great pocket camera that even allows users to manually configure the aperture and exposure time; on days when I purposely go out to take photographs, I take my trusted Canon EOS 550D along, a highly affordable DSLR camera.
Dougherty: Who are your influences?
Preier: No famous photographers who may have inspired me come to mind. Perhaps I’m just a curious guy with a knack for details. Well, my father got me interested in photography and there was a time when we would go out on photo strolls in Berlin. It may well be that painters had a stronger influence on me than photographers. I like structure, reduction, details, but also colors; very likely, a number of painters inspired me to find my own style.
Dougherty: What do you feel is the relationship between your photographs and your personality?
Preier: There is a strong connection; my photos show how I see the world, how I relate to it, my personal idea of beauty. I think my work also expresses a certain yearning for communication and human interaction, despite—no, rather because of—the lack of people in my photos. I’m an observer, I was born that way. Being good at observing is a great gift, but it also has its drawbacks, one of which is that it can create a certain distance between yourself and other people.
Dougherty: What is important in life?
Preier: That’s something everybody has to decide for themselves. In my case it’s doing something creative. If I didn’t have a creative outlet, I’d implode.
Dougherty: What’s more important in your vision, color or form?
Preier: Definitely form! I also like playing with color, but that comes second to structure and composition.
Dougherty: What do you feel is the highest art form?
Preier: There is no “highest art form”; instead, there’s a vast number of different ways of creative expression, each of which carries the potential for inspiring and moving works of art.
Dougherty: What’s the role of chance or opportunity in your photography?
Preier: As my photos focus on inanimate subjects, lines, surfaces and compositions, I only have myself to blame for good or poor shots. The photo discussed in question 2 is one of the few exceptions. Well, on second thought, factors such as the weather (lighting) or noticing a detail worth shooting fall into the realm of chance, so chance is, inevitably, something any photographer has to deal with. But this can be counterbalanced through persistence or patience.
Dougherty: Why do you take pictures?
Preier: I feel the need to capture hidden, everyday beauty and to funnel some of my creative energy into creating visual statements. Another reason: I have a bad visual memory—so there’s a need to capture what moves me, to create visual time capsules for a rainy day.
Dougherty: What’s your deepest regret?
Preier: Feeling powerless in the face of a planet consumed by rampant greed, cruelty and megalomania.
Dougherty: What’s your most profound satisfaction?
Preier: Creating something—be it a photograph, a piece of writing or an oral performance—that is admired by or gives other people pleasure. Whenever an underdog comes out on top. And good sex.
Everyday Beauty: The Photography of Mark Preier
Part of the PoetryCircle Showcase series.
@mo mancini: Thanks! I normally take photos that don't show people. Interestingly, some of my best pics are the ones with a 'human touch.'
@Cheryll: Thank you - I'm a sucker for praise, so don't stop!
@Tom: Thanks, Tom. I'm very much intrigued by geometries (the photos in this gallery don't fully reflect this bias of mine...).