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Mark Edward Harris

Featured image for post Mark Edward Harris

© Mohan Duwal


Photo by Mohan Duwal Mark Edward Harris’ ( editorial work has appeared in publications such as Vanity Fair, Life, Time, Newsweek, GEO, National Geographic Traveler, Conde Nast Traveler, Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, The London Times Sunday Travel Magazine, and the Los Angeles Times Sunday Magazine. His award-winning books include Faces of the Twentieth Century: Master Photographers and Their Work, The Way of the Japanese Bath, Wanderlust, North Korea, South Korea, and Inside Iran, The Travel Photo Essay: Describing a Journey Through Images and his latest, The People of the Forest, a book about orangutans.


LACP Interviews Mark Edward Harris

LACP asks Mark Edward Harris ten questions about his background, career in and beliefs about photography.

Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?

Mark Edward Harris: A documentary and travel photographer.

LACP: How long have you been shooting?

MEH: I would document family road trips camera-in-hand growing up but my first regular gig was doing stills for the Merv Griffin Show as part of my job there three decades ago.

LACP: Where did you get your training?

MEH: I took photo classes as I was earning a BA in History at California State University, Northridge and my Masters at California State University, Los Angeles, where I created a special program called “Pictorial/Documentary History.”

LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?

MEH: Traveling the world and documenting my experiences and the experiences of others with a camera (and occasionally a pen) dates back to my teens.

LACP Did you ever come close to giving up?

MEH: Never.

LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?

MEH: Having a regular life at home is not part of my workflow and I do miss a lot of family and friends events but c’est la vie. You never know when events or opportunities are going to happen that causes your schedule to do a 180. It’s part of the excitement and part of the stress of being a freelancer.

LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?

MEH: I would run out of ink writing all the amazing experiences I’ve had because of photography. I’ve had the opportunity to meet hundreds of the greatest lensmen and lenswomen for my Q&A series for various magazines and my travels have taken me to 90 countries.

LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?

MEH: Travel photography, environmental portraiture and photo essay classes as well as one-on-one sessions.

LACP: What do you love most about teaching?

MEH: It’s an incredible experience to help a person improve their passion and in many cases, their professions.

LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?

MEH: Take the profession as seriously as a doctor or a lawyer would his or her chosen profession. You must know your tools and the history of your profession to gain the depth needed to have a sustained career. Because of the digital revolution we can mindlessly snap a photo and get a decent image. In the film days you had to really understand f-stops, shutter speeds, Kelvin color temperatures, etc. This is just as important in the digital world but way too often ignored.