Marc Ward was never given a camera as a child. He wasn’t “hooked” on photography from the beginning…. Photography came to him by accident.
As an art major in college, Marc needed a way to document his painting, print -making, and sculptural work. The only way to do this was to buy a camera. And in the 1970’s, that meant a film camera.
His college roommate was the editor of the school newspaper. Once the camera arrived and his editor friend saw the new piece of equipment, Marc was appointed as the photographer for the newspaper. The problem was that this wasn’t going to be your typical campus newspaper. The troublemakers that were now in charge of the campus paper were going to make it a satirical publication with tabloid-like features and photos. Remember, this was the ‘70’s.
So, Marc’s first trips into the darkroom were not to develop fine art images, but rather to create photographical illusions for satirical stories. This was long before Photoshop. In fact, it was before personal computers. To make a photographical composite, one had to shoot and develop all the separate images, then cut them out with razors and glue them together. Then, airbrush or shade the edges of the cut out pieces with pencils to soften the boundaries. Once the composite image was assembled, a new photograph was taken of that result.
Marc Ward still doesn’t take just photos, he makes images. Though his original tools have changed and become entirely digital, the idea is still the same. Assemble components of photographical images and blend them together to tell a unique story. I asked Marc how he approaches the collection of base images to use in the finished product. He said;
“Many times, I shoot an image, such as a tree, a building, or clouds with specific intentions in mind. The concept for the final image is fairly well formed in my mind’s eye and I seek out the right components to assemble the complete image. Other times, I’m simply wandering with camera in hand, filling it with reflections of objects, colors, and tones. Ideas will arrive while I’m shooting or they’ll come to me later when I’m sorting through collected images. I hardly ever “take” pictures… I’m collecting the forms, shapes, and tones of things to later assemble and “make” an image. Am I a photographer in the conventional sense? Or, am I someone that uses the devices and processes of photography to make images? Is there a difference? For me, it doesn’t matter much. I simply take joy in “making” an image.”
One of the concerns that Marc expressed to me was that nature of images that the public views today. He said,
“As an experienced Photoshop user, I’m quick to spot PS work in magazines and newspapers. Hey, I love the artistic tool that is Photoshop, but many times it is used to trick rather than entertain, enlighten, or inspire. It is used to present a false narrative instead of an enhanced visual story. The term, “photoshopped” has become a derogatory term. But, the enhanced and altered visual story is the basis of my work. I want to present compelling images that “look real”, but the viewer knows cannot be. I want them to look and question the images before them with the hope they will also look and question everything that is displayed before them in today’s culture.”
Marc Ward’s work can be found in numerous exhibits both in the United States and internationally and viewed at his websites. In addition to his fine art and surrealistic work, Marc uses his Photoshop skills to produce space-based stock images that are represented by some of the world’s leading stock agencies. [Official Website]