#BeYourOwnIcon: Steve Mark
Steve Mark has documented 40 years of people, emotions and history in the streets of Boston.
The world is flooded with photographers, but few can capture raw emotions and slices of life the way Steve can in his beautiful black and white images.
As Steve says, his images are less about the physical subject, and more about the feelings they invoke. The textures, shades, and emotions his images convey are remarkable.
A CHALLENGING & INSPIRING BACKGROUND
American Sunglass asked Steve about his background and childhood.
His parents overcame great obstacles to make a good life for their children. “My parents emigrated to Boston from Romania following World War II. Both my mother and father were interned in the Nazi concentration camps as young teenagers, and after being liberated they met, married and moved to Germany.”
When he was seven years old, his father passed away suddenly. His mother took up the difficult task of supporting and raising her four children on her own. “She could not manage the children and the tailor shop alone, and so she sold it and moved us to Brockton. “
“She tried very hard to give us the best life she could. She was a strong and courageous woman and she was a tremendous influence in my life.”
Both his mother and his older brother have been great role models in his life.
“I greatly admired my mother and my brother. My mother was an Auschwitz survivor. She grew up on a farm in Romania and spent 17 months of her teenaged years in the camps. She lost her entire family in the Holocaust.“
“She instilled in me at a very young age that ‘Life is a precious gift – be thankful for it and never turn a blind eye to someone in need.’ I try to adhere to this every day.”
“My older brother, Leon, filled the role of my father. He is 15 years older than me and pushed me in school and in athletics. He was my idol! He is super smart with a master’s degree in education and a tremendous athlete as well. He kept me on the straight and narrow!”
HOW STEVE GOT HIS START
His brother, Leon, also played a big role in introducing Steve to his lifelong passion - photography.
“My passion for photography began when I was ten years old. My brother and I took a trip to Israel. Leon bought me a Kodak Instamatic 110 camera, and I became enthralled with this new way to view the world – through the lens of the camera. I couldn’t put it down! It was a film camera and it was costing my mom a fortune having all of my pictures developed.”
He continued to develop his photography skills in high school.
“I took four years of photography classes in high school, and I couldn’t wait to get to that class every day!”
“My passion has only grown as I have gotten older and I still push myself to get better and learn more each time I shoot.”
DEVELOPING HIS OWN STYLE
Steve’s images are created on the streets of his home city. His style is raw and candid.
“Street photography presents so many challenges and rewards. You never know what you are going to get. There are no studio lights, no poses, no ‘do-overs.’ There is something so beautiful and intimate about catching an unrehearsed moment in life that I just love.”
He finds that this energy and the human connections he makes, seep into every image.
“Each time I shoot I see a part of the city that is new and exciting, and I have met so many wonderful people who have stories to tell. I like to think that I can tell their story through my photography. I also want to make people aware of the history, beauty and sadness that reside on the streets of Boston.”
One of Steve’s biggest goals with his work, is to bring to light the homeless problem in Boston.
“The homeless situation in Boston is dire, and it is better in Boston than in many other cities. I want my street images to show the humanity of the homeless population, and to convey the struggles that both got them there and that they face each day on the street.”
“There are so many people out there that are hungry, cold and hopeless and if my images can shed a light on this tragedy then I have done something with my craft.”
His hope is to humanize those people in need that middle-class people might otherwise ignore. Through his photographs, he shows their emotions and struggles.
“If a photograph can get even one of the thousands of people who usually walk past to look into the eyes of the person struggling and help out in some way, then I’ve helped in some small way.”
Steve’s advises millennials to, “Get involved. Try to make the world a little bit better each day by an act of kindness or giving. ‘Never turn a blind eye to someone in need.’”
“Also, follow your passion and do what you love. Life goes by way too fast to spend it doing something you’re not passionate about!”
My journey consists of not only taking pictures, but of opening one's eyes to life's struggles, adventures and beauties.” - Steve Mark
In the image above, Steve is wearing the Maui Jim North Point Sunglasses in Titanium.