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Jul 23, 2013

Phlearn Interviews Marcus MB

Marcus Møller Bitsch is a 20 year old photographer who was born in 1992 in Aarhus – Denmark. He has recently graduated from Egaa Gymanisium in Aarhus this year. Marcus specializes in fine art and fashion photography. You can describe his photography in many words — dreamy, surreal, imaginative, creative, and story telling.

Marcus has been recognized for his work by many. He has been featured in countless magazines, blogs, and websites such as Photoblog.hk, Photojojo.com, Vogue.it. Dark Beauty Magazine, Photography Week Magazine, Blur Magazine, Fstoppers.com and many more.

Marcus was also recently named one of the top 10 young and talented photographers by acclaimed website My Modern Metropolis in January of 2013, and he was also named one of the top 5 Young and Talented Photographers by Untied Colors of Benetton in February of 2013.

Join us as we showcase Marcus’s work, he shows us some behind the scenes photos, a before and after of one of his most edited shots, as well he has generously offered sketches of his work to compare side by side with the originals. This is a great interview you’re not gonna want to miss!

How did you become interested in photography?

Since childhood I’ve been very interested in art and crafts. But my interest in photography actually started as documentation, in order to convince my parents about what I saw underwater on our annual charter vacation. I have since I was little, been incredibly happy with water and mastered quickly freediving skills. My parents didn’t think, as many other parents, on what I saw under water – in advance I did tell them many fanciful tales of what I saw in my everyday life – and some of them were perhaps a little too fantastic. I got an underwater disposable camera on our holiday to Malta, as 10 year old, and it was suddenly possible to convince my skeptical parents of what I saw beneath the surface. The number of underwater disposable cameras developed were many, and I spent hundreds of dollars a week on underwater disposable cameras on holidays. The madness could not continue, and I got sponsored by a digital underwater camera (Sea & Sea DX-860g) with strobe, arm and a fisheye-lens 5 years after by a freediving sponsor. Years passed and I bought a Nikon d60, which I frequently played with every now and then. Then, one and a half years ago – a Wednesday, I “unfortunately” injured my knee, which meant I couldn’t practice freediving or any other kind of sport for months. I asked myself the question, “So, what should you do now Marcus?!”. All my life I’ve been pursuing big passions and goals, which have taken up my spare time completely. Since I couldn’t do any kinds of sports after my injury, I decided to start a project – the 365 days project. When I started the project I began a journey in understanding the photography world. Which is why I choose the day I started the project, as the day I started photographing. I started the project, because I wanted to make something out of my day, but also to pursue my newly profound passion. I wanted to learn, to discover the world of photography and the tell stories through my camera.

Do you have any formal training in photography? (or in your post processing skills)

Nope. I’m completely self-taught. Learning by doing. For now, I quite like the idea of my style being “untouched” by educators. But later I’ll probably look for some kind of photography/art-focused education – outside Denmark.

What’s on your gear list?

I use a Nikon D700 together with my beloved Nikon 50mm f/1.4, a 1-meter in diameter gold/silver reflector, a cheap ass tripod and when needed a Nikon MB-D10 Multi-Power Battery Grip. For editing: Adobe Photoshop CS6, Macbook Pro 15”, Retina Wacom Intuos 5 medium.

What inspires you?

Everything is the short answer. Inspiration is everywhere. But primarily I’m very inspired by my everyday life – how I feel, how I see the world, my dreams and experiences etc. Besides that I’m also incredibly inspired by philosophers and start/mid 20th century painters.

How long is the process of creating an image? (coming up with the concept, shooting, editing)

It depends a lot on how complex the photo is. The whole process varies from hours to weeks to months.

Do you sketch your ideas?

Yes I do, almost all of them. Especially the more complex ones, which I go back to several times, perfecting the idea, before putting it into life.

An example is the sketch for this photo:

You’ve been named one of the Top 10 Young and Talented Photographers by My Modern Metropolis in January of 2013, and you’ve been named one of the top 5 young and talented photographers by the United Colors of Benetton in February of 2013.

First of all, congratulations, absolutely well deserved.Second, has these awards effected the way you work in any way? Does it put unwanted pressures on you, or does it push you to go further with your work?
No not really. It does only give me a shoulder clap, and therefore motivates be to go further with my work. But my personal motivation has a much greater impact in helping me.

Marcus being interviewed for TV2 OJ – GO’ Aften Østjylland

What type of lighting do you utilize the most in your work?

I do always use natural light. I’ve experimented with artificial light, but I want to keep my photos as realistic as possible.

Can you tell us about your series “Humanity is Vulnerable”?

“Humanity is Vulnerable” is a series I did in late 2011/beginning 2012. A series, which shows the vulnerability of mankind, through demonstrating the biggest disasters of mankind. I’ve been thinking very much lately about remaking it, now where I’m graduated from school and have the time to do it.

Within your work you use yourself as a model quite often. How important do you think it is for artists to experiment with their work through the use of self portraits?

Most of my self-portraits was a part of my 365 days project and is mostly due to being limited on time. Apart from photography and my 365 days project, I go to school and practice sports, which basically means that I don’t have much time to look for models or ask my friends to help me. Besides, my self-portraits are a kind of a self-therapy for me, they are an amazing way of handling my thoughts, and is therefore always categorized as personal projects. I don’t think it’s important for an artist to experiment with self-portraiture. The artists personality will always be more or less visible in her/his work, so I don’t see a reason to portray themselves directly in their artwork. I think it’s a great challenge and a great way to translate the artist’s thoughts to the artwork, and can be used as a way of self-therapy – as I do, but I don’t see it as a must in the artist’s education.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve done to get “the shot”?

I’ve burned my hair twice trying to get “the shot”, once by putting fireworks on my head. But the craziest thing I’ve done was probably to crawl under an ice floe in the sea to do a self-portrait.

What is your favourite photo that you’ve ever created?

Think it’s the photo called “UP” and “The Sea”. Technically I’m not that happy about them, but they still stand clear in my memory. “UP”, has a great meaning to me, since it has helped my career enormously. “The Sea” has the greatest personal meaning to me. The photo deals with my desire and indescribable love to the sea. I’m pleased with most of my photos, but its only a very few of them I’m decidedly happy about.

How has your “365 days” project helped with the growth of your work?

How has it helped? Well, before I started the 365 I wasn’t “really” photographing, so it has helped me grow in every single way. I’ll lunch a book at the end of august, containing my 365 days project, describing the project and me thought about it.

How do you combat a creative block?

I normally try to update my visual memory, by stumbling through the Internet, books, neighbourhood or start brainstorming.

You delve deep into many different types of photography. Fine art, still life, and fashion. Which type of photography is your favourite to work on?

It’s definitely a mixture of fashion and fine art. Would love to mix the two genres more in the future. I’m very fascinated by fashion and the world around it. I see fashion as an art form and as a communication source. This is exemplified in this video

A video, that shows the fascinating nature of fashion and its origin. I love photographing this nature, and tell stories through it by collaborating with it.

What do you do in your free time when you are not doing photography?

Another big passion of mine is water sports and traveling. Since childhood I’ve travelled a lot and been in love with the sea and practiced free diving, surfing and swimming. Otherwise all kinds of adventures.

How has social media helped with the success of your photography?

Social media is a great, cheap and efficient way of advertising. My use of social media spans over Tumblr, Flickr, Instagram and
Facebook. But I don’t believe it’s the most efficient way of advertising, that is, as it has always been personal advertising/word of mouth advertising. I’ve gained enormous amounts of exposure through social media, for example with different kinds of features. Social media has had the role as the primer in my little career. Understood as followed, it has helped me get some important contacts, which has helped me get jobs. Afterwards the gained contacts recommend me, and the word of mouth advertising sets in.

What would you consider to be your best quality?

My positive attitude towards life.

What is your proudest moment as a photographer?

Hmm, that’s a tough one. Think it was when My Modern Metropolis listed me as one of the Top 10 Young and Talented Photographers. I knew all the other listed photographers, and didn’t see myself as one on their level. I had admired their work and respected them for so long, and therefore it felt very surrealistic to be listed together with them.

If you could travel anywhere where would you go?

Space. I chose practicing diving as child due to the wish of being weightless. My second choice would be Australia, where I’m traveling to this September to live for a year or so.

What is something you wish you were better at?

Photography wise, shooting medium format film. I don’t know that much about it, and would therefor love to try it out and explore the medium.

Is there one piece of equipment you just can’t live without?

The obvious answer is my camera. I’m not that dependent of material stuff, and fell best with as little equipment as possible. I’m a huge admire of people who escape materialism.

How important is Photoshop in your work?

Photoshop has become a less important part gradually with time. Since I’ve lately become very focused on not manipulating my photos. The photo below is one of my most edited photos, and is called “Into the wild” and is the #265 in my 365 days project.

What do you think were some of the key elements to the development of your photography?

Personal motivation, creativity, spontaneity and a lack of resources.

Where would you like to see yourself and your photography going in the next couple of years?

Being happy what I’m doing. Waking up every morning looking forward to work. Traveling the world and do what I love to do – telling stories through my photographs and work together with other inspiring creative people. Fingers crossed.

Any plans for the future?

This September I’ll move to Australia for a year together with a mate, traveling around photographing and surfing with the purpose of writing a photo book/”travelers guide for a backpacker”. It is going to be very subjective book, full of alternative stories and adventures and surreal photographs. At the moment I’m working on a book about my 365 days project, a couple fashion editorials and some commercial work.

Do you have any advice to offer us fellow photographers?

Don’t be afraid of being creative and vulnerable.

To keep up with Marcus and his work you can do so on his WebsiteTumblrFlickrInstagram and Facebook Page.
Interviewed By: Angela Butler

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