In Conversation with Mark Roper

Mark Roper is an award-winning food and lifestyle photographer, with clients including Aesop, Conde Nast, Habitus, Gourmet Traveller and more recently the Broadsheet Italian Cookbook. However it's Mark's experimental fine art photography that has caught our eye, after the recently exhibited Orchestrated Kaleidoscope mixed-media series at Otomys Gallery.

Read our chat with Mark below, part of our 'Creative People and Processes' series.


Orchestrated Kaleidoscopes series by Mark Roper

Can you take us through the process of making the pieces in the Orchestrated Kaleidoscopes series?

My first exhibition for Otomys, Arcane, was created using Polaroid film and different forms of manipulation to create the final image. For Orchestrated Kaleidoscopes I wanted to push this process even further to see what hidden tones and colours I could uncover to create more depth and layers. Each batch of Polaroid film releases different results depending on how old it is and how it’s been stored, so the base image is almost out of my control. I don’t choose the colours that appear, but I do control the composition techniques to create texture, form and space. 

Orchestrated Kaleidoscope was your first venture into mixed-media, how much experimentation was involved? How did you know when you were on the right path?

I wanted my work to offer the viewer a more three dimensional experience, to create a foreign and mystical abstract landscape. I started applying liquid resin to magnify key areas. Initially I experimented with tinted resin but settled on clear resin to exaggerate the luxurious gloss and the original colour.


Orchestrated Kaleidoscopes series by Mark Roper


Orchestrated Kaleidoscopes series by Mark Roper


Commercial work by Mark Roper

How does your commercial practice influence your fine art practice and vice versa? Are there particular interests in working with certain materials and mediums that come from curiosity in your commercial work?

I think a common aesthetic runs through both my fine art and commercial work, whether through colour, tone or mood. I work with many talented designers and architects. I predominantly use natural light in my commercial work. I love the tones, the emotive quality and the unpredictability it brings, which has a major influence on my fine art practice.

How much time do you dedicate to your art practice? Do you have a more fluid approach to your fine art or do you set aside time for experimenting? 

If I have an idea I’d like to work on I tend to put time aside otherwise the idea often gets left on the drawing board before I’ve had a chance to experiment to see if it’s worth pursuing. Forced free time has been one of the few silver linings in this period of lockdowns!

What will you be exploring next? Are there more mixed-media works on the horizon?

I’m looking to experiment with paint, ceramics and more malleable materials in the future. There will be a lot of experimenting so I can be confident my ideas will translate. I’d like to use photography to augment other media rather than use other media to augment my photographs.


Orchestrated Kaleidoscopes by Mark Roper

Words by Mark Roper

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