“ I consider myself a photographic artist. I see the world my way and using my camera I capture this so I may show others, how I see things and what the world means to me. ” Mark Varley
" Born in Yorkshire in 1976 Mark’s childhood was influenced by its moors and wide-open spaces.
After a spell in the army he was left permanently disabled and accepted a medical discharge with physical injuries and PTSD. During the next few years he spent time working in the war torn Bosnia and Croatia.
Photography was a hobby that developed into a profession in 1999. His images have been published in many books, magazines, websites and art galleries throughout Britain, Europe and America primarily Landscapes, Wildlife and Artistic Nudes including the highly specialised Japanese influenced rope bondage which he also teaches and performs.
"In spite of his disabilities he constantly inspires with his work being followed by other leading photographers.
In 2006 his first in a series of highly collectable bondage books was published - Beautiful Bondage - the art of rope bondage in collaboration with John Grinter.
2006 was also the year Mark teamed up with talented abstract and travel photographer Jan Murphy and Twisted Photography was born, closely followed by Twisted Arts for more artistic works.
2007 started with another book-based project ‘London Bound’ an artistic study of rope bondage on women of London, many trying it for the first time, photographed in their own homes and photographed in a familiar range of artistic styles, real women in real bondage.
"Photography is not a sport, it has no rules"
Dear Mark, how did you get into nude art photography ?
I'd been a photographer for a while and I used to draw nudes and admire the work of men like Craig Weston, Man Ray, Erik Kroll, (to name but a few) on the newsgroup : "alt binaries photos nude-art".
I finally decided to try myself and befrended a local model who worked for free on my first two shoots, I was hooked, I was amazed by my own work and it was the first time I felt totally immersed in my subject. On reflection I see that it's where my talent really lies, it's the most natural style I work in.
Where did you learn your art ?
I have to thank my school art teacher, Mrs Todd, for getting me started and spending many hours in the darkroom with me. Since then I am entirely self-taught. I read books and talk to other photographers but mostly it all came from within.
Practice and inspiration, certainly the best way to learn... How long could you be far from your camera ? Are you obsessive ?
As my camera is rather bulky and as photography is my everyday work I tend to not take it out when not working, however my partner (Jan Murphy, also a photographer and partner in my company TwistedPhotography) and I were out yesterday, not working, and ended up taking many photos on our camera phones. The photographer part of us just won't be switched off !
Who are your favorite photographers ?
Craig Weston, Man Ray, Erik Kroll, Gabriele Rigon, Helmut Newton, Howard Schatz, Imogen Cunningham, the list goes on, these people and many others have all influenced me in some way.
I must say, as embarrassed as she will be by it, my partner Jan Murphy has grown massively as a photographer while I have known her and when she says "what do you think of this" I am almost always quite amazed by what she has produced.
And how long did it take to find your own style ? Could you define it ?
I think I see several styles depending on how and what I'm shooting, but if I were to sum up my basic core style it would be 'painting with dark'.
' PhotoGraph' is usually translated or broken-down into ' painting with light', I feel I am often painting with the lack of light, the shadows, the dark. This is, on reflection, how I have always worked.
What message do you want to give us through your work ?
I see the world my way, but only I see it, my photography is my attempt to capture what I see the way I see it so I may share it with the world.
My message is 'this is my world, try looking at it my way, just for a moment'.
What is your process of creation ?
Some shoots are planned to a degree of details and some just happen, I usually start with some ideas and along the way to creating them other ideas come to mind and away we go.
However I also did an amazing shoot in the summer, I had seen a model on a website and I was immediately captivated with her body, muscular yet feminine. When we finally got around to arranging a shoot, outdoor locations near her home, I arrived at the stations and she suggested locations she'd seen, there was so little planning it may as well have all been improvised. We used some woodland and an old barn and I just flowed creatively. Nothing planned yet beautiful work produced.
Other times I have a clear idea in my head and am quite obsessive about creating and capturing it exactly.
What a lucky man !... What locations do you tend to use mainly ?
I did a book entirely shot on-location at models own homes, it was such a change from the sterile studio environment I had been in for the previous few months.
I shoot in studios, other interesting locations, outdoor locations (both urban and rural), homes, anywhere.
Everywhere is the best place for creation, you're right. Some words about your gorgeous models ?
Most of my models are private clients paying for photos of themselves, however I rarely show those works as examples so most of the models you will see in photographs I show are professional or semi-professional models, though I do only use models who have a personal interest in the style and can bring something of themselves to it, some passion, the last thing I want to work with is 'a body for hire'.
On the whole my models have been amazing, many are now friends, my life and my work is enriched for having spent some time with each and every one of them.
I understand. How do you feel at the end of a shooting ?
As well as combinations of exhausted, mentally drained, etc...
I am always on a high, I carry my camera home like it contains something precious and beautiful, which it usually does.
And have you some challenges you're dreaming about ?
Every time I pick up my camera I feel a challenge. Continuing to make my living this way is always a challenge, continuing to explore my artistic self is always a challenge. I'd love the challenge of working with a celebrity and capturing them my way instead of theirs (for a change).
Everything should be challenging otherwise it gets boring.
You have you published three books... Bravo ! Is there one to come ?
Yes, three books so far :
'Beautiful Bondage', the art of rope bondage, volume one' was shot in early 2006 and produced in partnership with my then-assistant John Grinter, it was a combination of decorative rope bondage (another passion of mine) beautifully photographed and a how-to guide for the rope ties.
'London Bound' was shot in the first half of 2007 and took rope bondage into the homes of real London women, many were trying bondage for the first time, it's all real and photographed in a very 'real' way. I have copies of my books here and this is the one I pick up and flick through most of the time, I love it myself.
'Fine Art Nude Photography', so-titled as I feel my nudes fit squarely in this category, is a compilation of 250 fine art nude images I photographed between 2004 and 2006.
They are all available via my website.
I have also had work used in others books and magazines etc and I have other books planned for the future.
Again Bravo ! It's so difficult to be published nowadays... Maybe a message to send before we leave ?
'Buy Photographic Art'. Photography is an art form, the technical knowledge required sits happily in the background while we photographic artists create.
If you think a photograph is beautiful, mine or someone else, buy a print, you will be able to enjoy it every day, it can only increase in value and you have touched a photographer deeply, buying a print says 'I love your work, I love this piece so much I need to own it, keep doing what you do'. Even the most arrogant of artists are touched by this.
You're right !... And this site is made for ! Thanks a lot Mark, I appreciate your kind and so quick participation.