All about photo: photo contests, photography exhibitions, galleries, schools, books and venues.
Mark Coggins
Mark Coggins
Mark Coggins

Mark Coggins

Country: United States
Birth: 1957

Mark Coggins is a crime-fiction novelist and photographer. Five of his six award-winning novels are illustrated with images taken by him. His photos have been exhibited in galleries across the country and have been featured in books of other authors, notably Red Mist by Patricia Cornwell and A Lover's Discourse: Fragments by Roland Barthes. He has written about photography for View Camera magazine and is a contributor to Getty Images.

All About Photo: When did you realize you also wanted to become a photographer?

Mark Coggins: I've been interested in photography for a long time. I had a darkroom with a friend in grade school where I developed and printed pictures I took with an old 35mm Bolsey rangefinder camera my father gave me, but didn't really get serious about it until my mid-30's when I took a view camera class with Mark Citret.

All About Photo: Where did you study photography? With whom?

Mark Coggins: I've taken a number of classes and workshops with Mark Citret. While Mark is primarily a large-format photographer and I was initially interested in large format as well, I've evolved into more of "street photographer" using digital 35mm equivalents. However, I believe the training in large format has given me a deeper appreciation of composition, depth of field and exposure that is quite beneficial in making my images.

All About Photo: Do you take photographs between books or at the same time?

Mark Coggins: I move fluidly between writing and photography, doing both pretty much at the same time. When I photograph to illustrate my novels, of course, the two are yoked together in the service of the same goal.

All About Photo: Does your writing influence your photography or vice versa?

Mark Coggins: A bit of both. Originally, I was using photography to document street scenes I wanted to describe in my books. Then I hit upon the idea of including the photos I was taking in the books. Later I began to alter the plot of my books to have an excuse to include photos I liked that I had taken without reference to a particular scene.

All About Photo: What lead you to photography and why?

Mark Coggins: In the very beginning, it was the photos my father had taken during the Korean War with the 35mm Bolsey camera he eventually gave me. My mother recently found a box of his old negatives and slides, and several images-particularly of Korean children-are quite good.

All About Photo: Do you remember your first shot? What was it?

Mark Coggins: I don't remember the first photo I took, but I do remember the first one I developed and printed (around the age of 12). It was a snapshot of a large toy rubber beetle of my brother's. Not great art!

All About Photo: What was your first paid assignment/job?

Mark Coggins: The first print I sold was the photo of two chess pieces on a board that was used for the cover of my first novel, The Immortal Game. Several bookstores carried prints of the photo to sell to collectors who had enjoyed the book.

All About Photo: What or who inspires you?

Mark Coggins: I photograph street scenes from cities throughout the world. What inspires me most is capturing groups of people interacting or engaged in a common activity, rather than simply taking street portraits of individuals, although I have plenty of those in my portfolio.

All About Photo: How could you describe your style?

Mark Coggins: I like sharply focused images with a full tonal range, pulling in as much detail as I can in the shadows. Most all my work is black and white with a colder toning.

All About Photo: Do you have a favorite photograph or series?

Mark Coggins: "Geisha Confidential." It was taken one evening in Kyoto, Japan. I was walking down a back street in the older part of town when a cab with a geisha pulled up. The cab driver went in to an adjacent building to retrieve a second geisha. The photo documents the moment when the second joined the first and they began an urgent conversation.
I like the image both because I was so extraordinarily fortunate to be in a position to take it and because I did a fair amount of editing to achieve the nourish atmosphere (I believe) it conveys.

All About Photo: What kind of gear do you use? Camera, lens, digital, film?

Mark Coggins: I mostly use Fujifilm rangefinder digital cameras, which is perhaps appropriate since my first camera was the Bolsey rangefinder. I also have a full-frame Nikon DSLR that I use for non-street photos.

All About Photo: What is the influence of digital technology on your photography?

Mark Coggins: Although my serious interest in photography began with my involvement with large format film photography, I was never that good a printer. It wasn't uncommon for me to like the Polaroid proof I took of a particular shot more than I did of the final print. If, as Ansel Adams said, the negative is the score and the print is the performance, I was blowing it during the performance. Digital has made me a better performer.

All About Photo: Do you spend a lot of time editing your images? For what purpose?

Mark Coggins: I do a fair amount of editing. I often crop, convert to black and white, dodge and burn where necessary and try to make sure I've gotten as much detail in the shadows as I can. I also tone my images on the colder range of the scale.

All About Photo: How do you choose your subjects?

Mark Coggins: I look for interesting people interacting in interesting ways on the street.

All About Photo: Favorite(s) photographer(s)?

Mark Coggins: Oh, there are so many. Mark Citret, of course. From there, in no particular order, Sally Mann, Edward Weston, Ruth Bernhard, Eugène Atget, Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Henri Cartier-Bresson.

All About Photo: What advice would you give a young photographer?

Mark Coggins: I can't tell you how to do this, but I do believe it is important: to develop one's own style. It took me a long time to do it, and I only realized I had done so long after the achievement. It's not a paint-by-numbers type goal.

All About Photo: What mistake should a young photographer avoid?

Mark Coggins: Although I've been guilty of it myself, I see a lot of photographers over-manipulating images. Perhaps it's the influence of Instagram filters.

All About Photo: What are your projects?

Mark Coggins: I shot continuously in my home city of San Francisco, but for some reason, my best photos seem to come during travel to foreign countries. I'm planning a trip to several new (to me) European cities this summer.

All About Photo: Your best memory as a photographer?

Mark Coggins: When the Patricia Cornwell's publisher contacted me about using my photo of Savannah's Colonial Park Cemetery for the endpapers of her novel Red Mist.

All About Photo: Your worst souvenir as a photographer?

Mark Coggins: Over-exposed 4x5 negative of what I was certain to be a great shot when I didn't properly seat the bag bellows of my large format camera.

All About Photo: The compliment that touched you most?

Mark Coggins: When my mother hung one of my (really not very good) photos in her living room next to a watercolor by very accomplished artist.

All About Photo: Your favorite photo book?

Mark Coggins: Along the Way by Mark Citret.

All About Photo: An anecdote that comes to your mind?

Mark Coggins: I lived next to Ruth Bernhard in San Francisco for several years. I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't really understand her importance to the photography world until I met her at a party.

All About Photo: Anything else you would like to share?

Mark Coggins: Another anecdote: when I shut down my darkroom, I sold my sink to music photographer Tom O'Neal, who photographed the cover of Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young's Deja Vu album.
 

Inspiring Portfolios

Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #25: B&W
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes
 
Stay up-to-date  with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events.

More Great Photographers To Discover

Joris Hermans
Belgium
1983
Joris Hermans is a freelance documentary and travel photographer based in Belgium. In February of 2018, after winning a Nikon Press Photo Award in his country, he decided to leave his home behind and travel the world indefinitely. He tries to capture countries and people inbox ways no traveler does and documents everything on THE WORLD AHEAD OF US. He's still accepting freelance assignments. Joris' work has been featured on LifeFramer, Don't Take Pictures, PDN, Booooooom, Aint-Bad Magazine, Positive Magazine, GUP Magazine and Fotoroom Magazine. He was a finalist for the Renaissance Photography Prize and selected for the Kontinent Awards. He was a category winner of PDN World in Focus in 2015 and Nikon Press Photo Awards in 2016/2017. People Being pretty disappointed by today's travel photography, I decided to try and make a change. For me, traveling is not about selfies and "Instagrammable" places but about the people, stories and experiences. People make a country interesting and since I left to travel indefinitely more than one year ago, I've been focusing on the people in every country. Regular people I meet and who share me their story or with whom I have a quick chat in the streets are the stars in my portrait photos. it doesn't matter. They're all special. I try to take my medium format camera everywhere I go because I know an interesting person might pop up any where, any time. I hope one day, I can create a book with all these interesting faces and their stories. This is Varanasi In 2018, I spent two months traveling across India. It's become one of my favourite countries in the world. The history, culture and people inspired me every day I was there. Then, I arrived in Varanasi and it was the highlight of my time in India. Varanasi or Benares is the Holy Grail of India according to many travelers. It's one of the oldest cities in the world sitting on the banks of the river Ganges and that's exactly why it's so important to Indians. Everybody wants to die in Varanasi and/or be cremated on the banks of the holy river. After the cremation, the ashes are being sprinkled in the river and that's when the deceased reaches Nirvana. From all over India people travel to Varanasi; to die or to bring the dead, sometimes even with the corpse on ice in the trunk of a car... Life and death are not that far apart in India... The Ghats that lead up to the river is what I wanted to see. That's where the locals are and where they play cards and cricket or just relax in the evening. And that's exactly what we did too every evening when the sun started to set; just relax at the ghats of Varanasi. The light turned into a magical glow again like everywhere in India went the sun goes down and as a photographer it's an awesome few hours to be out...
Don Hong-Oai
China
1929 | † 2004
Don Hong-Oai was born in Canton, China in 1929 as the youngest son to a business family and was raised and educated in Saigon, Vietnam. At age 13 he began an apprenticeship at a Chinese photo and portrait shop. In 1979 he immigrated to the United States and settled in Chinatown of San Francisco. Don began making a living by selling his landscape photographs in front of Macy’s and began to receive recognition for his craftsmanship. His style was heavily influenced by the legendary photographer Long Chin-San and his technique of layering negatives. By taking three negatives, foreground, middle ground, and far ground, and selecting a subject from each negative, Don would form one composite image of a serene landscape. All the various scenes in an image existed in reality, but each uniquely handcrafted photograph in its entirety is a concoction of the artist's imagination. Each photograph was assembled only by the artist himself thus he never had an assistant nor a master printer like some photographers. His work has won scores of international awards and has been collected worldwide. Sadly, Don passed away in San Francisco in 2004. Don was born in Canton, China in 1929 and spent most of his life in Vietnam. As a young boy in Saigon he apprenticed at a photography studio. When he was not at the studio, he traveled and took photographs of the landscape. He stayed in Vietnam through the war, but fled by boat to California in 1979. He lived in San Francisco’s Chinatown where he had a small darkroom to create his photographs. While living the US he returned to China every few years to make new negatives. Only in the last few years of his life was his work discovered by a wider public, and he was kept very busy making prints for collectors across the US and elsewhere. Don died in June 2004. The photographs of Don Hong-Oai are made in a unique style of photography, which can be considered Asian pictorialism. This method of adapting a Western art for Eastern purposes probably originated in the 1940s in Hong Kong. One of its best known practitioners was the great master Long Chin-San (who died in the 1990s at the age of 104) with whom Don Hong-Oai studied. With the delicate beauty and traditional motifs of Chinese painting (birds, boats, mountains, etc.) in mind, photographers of this school used more than one negative to create a beautiful picture, often using visual allegories. Realism was not a goal. Don Hong-Oai was one of the last photographers to work in this manner. He is also arguably the best. He has won hundreds of awards given by photography societies throughout Asia and by international juries of Kodak and Nikon. Source: www.gallery71.com
Guido Klumpe
Germany
1971
Guido Klumpe was born in 1971 in Germany. He's been taking photographs since he was sixteen years old. After graduating from high school, he traveled through Southeast Asia. From then on he was infected by street photography, without knowing that this genre even existed. He discovered the magic of the decisive moment. After his studies in social work, other art forms became interesting for him. He danced and acted in theatre. But in 2016 he rediscovered his passion for street photography. Since then, there is not a day when he is not involved in (street) photography. He is almost blind since birth on the left and have 25% vision on the right because the optic nerves don't pass on as much information to the brain. You can imagine it like an internet video with a low data rate. Through photography he go to and beyond the limits of his vision. Guido Klumpe won several awards, among others at the Paris Street Photography award, the German Streetfotografie Festival and the Minimalist Photography award. His work has been published in various international online and print magazines. My work combines three genres that influence each other: street photography, minimal photography and abstract photography. I see my city as an urban landscape. A landscape made up of shapes, colors, reflections and light. I can dissolve and reassemble these elements, limited only by the laws of optics, the possibilities of the camera and my imagination. The overarching theme is the tension between urban architecture and its inhabitants. In my ongoing series 'Loosing one dimension' I playfully explore the fragile moment of transition where three-dimensional architecture dissolves and abstracts into the two-dimensional. When the viewer loses orientation and can't tell for sure what they see, which parts of the image are in front, and which are behind, they experience a bit of how I sometimes lose my bearings in the world. To achieve this effect, I photographically superimpose different parts of the building. I often find my motifs on arterial roads, industrial areas or suburbs.
Mo Verlaan
Netherlands
1963
"After graduating from the Rietvelt Art Academy in Amsterdam, I started out in experimental theatre, creating sets on location as well as performing. In 1993, I founded De Drie Gezusters with my sisters catering to (inter)national film crews on location from a converted truck. Eight years ago, my love for photography made me enter the Photo Academy. The book and series titled Resonance was part of my graduation in 2016. In these photographs my fascination with light and luminance finds its expression. The Memory of Time is a study about the plasticity of time and light, to see time and light as something elastic. For me there is a strong correlation between the impermanence of light and the fluidity of time." "In The Memory of Time I explore abstract spaces. What interests me most, are architectural structures where light can fleet in and out, creating a new space. To me light is both a tangible and evanescent medium, if not a language. By fading, molding and carving the light in my photographs, I transform reality and move into an imaginative and intuitive realm. The process involves composing layered images that nearly look like drawings, scraping off the innate realism that is part of photography, thus creating a more sensorial and subliminal world." Winner Single Image 9th Julia Margaret Cameron Award 2016, Category Architecture. Works from the series Resonance received several Honorable Mentions: Tokyo International Foto Awards 2016 (2x), The Monochrome Awards 2016 (4x), The Monovision Photography Awards 2017 (6x), IPA 2017 (2x), IPA 2018 One Shot Harmony (1x). The series Resonance was exhibited at The Indian Photography Festival 2016. The book Resonance was exhibited at: Scan Photobooks (Spain), The Griffin Museum (USA), RPSP (UK), Tripp Gallery (UK), Unveil'd (UK). Publication in the NEW2017, 100 Best Emerging Dutch Photographers of the year 2017.
Lindokuhle Sobekwa
South Africa
1995
Lindokuhle Sobekwa (born 1995) is a South African documentary photographer. He is a Nominee member of Magnum Photos and based in Johannesburg. Sobekwa was born in Katlehong, a township, 35 km from Johannesburg, South Africa. He learned photography in 2012 through participation in the first Of Soul and Joy Project, an educational program for young people run in the township of Thokoza; the workshop was given by Bieke Depoorter and Cyprien Clément-Delmas. His photo essay, Nyaope, about people who use the drug Nyaope in the township in which he lived and beyond, was published by the South African newspaper Mail & Guardian in 2014 and by Vice Magazine and De Standaard in 2015. Source: Wikipedia In 2015, Sobekwa received a scholarship to study at the Market Photo Workshop where he completed his foundation course. His Series Nyaope was exhibited in the ensuing group show, Free From My Happiness, organized by Rubis Mecenat at the International Photo Festival of Ghent in Belgium. In 2016, he left South Africa for a Residency in Tehran, Iran, with the No Man’s Art Gallery. The same year his work was displayed in the traveling iteration of Free from my Happiness. His work features in the book Free from my Happiness edited by Bieke Depoorter and Tjorven Bruyneel . He also took part in the group show Fresh Produce, organized by Assemblages and VANSA at the Turbine Art Fair in Johannesburg. Lindokuhle Sobekwa is also an assistant manager to the Of Soul and Joy Project, as well as a trainee at Mikhael Subotzky Studio. In 2017, Sobekwa was selected by the Magnum Foundation for Photography and Social Justice to develop the project I Carry Her Photo With Me. In 2018, he received the Magnum Foundation Fund to continue with his longterm project Nyaope, and has been selected for the residency Cité des Arts Réunion. Sobekwa became a Magnum nominee member in 2018.Source: Magnum Photos About I Carry Her Photo With Me The day his older sister Ziyanda disappeared, Lindokuhle Sobekwa was hit by a car. The two were walking together along a road in the Johannesburg suburb of Thokoza when Ziyanda began to chase the seven-year-old Sobekwa. Out of fear, he began to run, and then he was hit. Above him, he recalled before blacking out, was the blurry silhouette of a woman or girl. His sister vanished in the ensuing scramble, with no word as to why. “She was in a period of being a very secretive person,” Sobekwa remembers. She was thirteen years old. Sobekwa would not see Ziyanda again for a dozen years. Then one day, he returned from school, and Ziyanda was at home. She was reunited with the family for a couple of weeks. At the time, in 2014, Sobekwa was coming into his own as a photographer. He was in his final year of high school and working under the mentorship of Magnum photographer Bieke Depoorter and filmmaker Cyprien Clément-Delmas through the Of Soul and Joy project, an artistic initiative based in Thokoza. He remembers walking into Ziyanda’s room one day; in that moment, he saw his favorite would-be portrait of his sister: “She was lying in bed, there was a beautiful light. She said, ‘If you take a photo, I’m going to kill you.’ A few days after that, she passed away.” Disappearances are not rare in South Africa, Sobekwa says. Most Black South African families are familiar with the trauma of disappearances, which date back to the late 1980s and early ’90s, the height of the apartheid crisis. During this time, an ethnopolitical war between two rival parties, the African National Congress (ANC) and the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP), suffused the townships with panic, as residents along the factional line were routinely vanished by violence. In Sobekwa’s family, the cycle began with his grandfather, who was the first of the line to come to Johannesburg, in the 1960s. He never returned to the countryside; his fate is still unknown. In 2017, the Magnum Foundation named Sobekwa a Photography and Social Justice Fellow. Suddenly, he had the resources to expand his search for his sister and develop his personal journal into a full-fledged series, I carry Her photo with Me (2017–ongoing). “I had my own unanswered questions, maybe guilt of some sort,” says Sobekwa. “I felt the need to go into these spaces and make the camera my excuse. I realized that going alone, it would be difficult.” With his camera in hand, he slipped once more into the role of documentarian.Source: Aperture
Advertisement
Solo Exhibition July 2022
POTW
AAP Magazine #25: B&W

Latest Interviews

Exclusive Interview with  Diana Cheren Nygren
Diana Cheren Nygren is a fine art photographer from Boston, Massachusetts. Her work explores the relationship of people to their physical environment and landscape as a setting for human activity. Her photographs address serious social questions through a blend of documentary practice, invention, and humor.
Exclusive Interview with  Castro Frank
Castro Frank is a Los Angeles based visual artist who has translated his personal experiences of growing up in the San Fernando Valley into a signature journalistic and candid approach to photography.
Exclusive Interview with Emerald Arguelles
Emerald Arguelles is a photographer and editor based in Savannah, GA. As a young visual artist, Emerald has become an internationally recognized photographer through her explorations and capturing of Black America.
Exclusive Interview with  Dave Krugman
Dave Krugman is a New York based Photographer, Cryptoartist, and Writer, and is the founder of ALLSHIPS, a Creative Community based on the idea that a rising tide raises all ships. He is fascinated by the endless possibilities that exist at the intersection of art and technology, and works in these layers to elevate artists and enable them to thrive in a creative career. As our world becomes exponentially more visual, he seeks to prove that there is tremendous value in embracing curiosity and new ideas.
Exclusive Interview with  Lenka Klicperova
I first discovered Lenka Klicperová's work through the submission of her project 'Lost War' for the November 2021 Solo Exhibition. I chose this project for its strength not only because of its poignant subject but also for its humanist approach. I must admit that I was even more impressed when I discovered that it was a women behind these powerful front line images. Her courage and dedication in covering difficult conflicts around the world is staggering. We asked her a few questions about her life and work.
Exclusive Interview with  James Hayman
James Hayman is a photographer as well as a film / television director, producer, and cinematographer based in Los Angeles. We asked him a few questions about his life and work.
Exclusive Interview with John Simmons
John Simmons is a multi-talented artist whose work has spanned across decades. Born in Chicago and coming of age during the Civil Rights Era, Simmons' photography started at the peak of political and racial tension of the 1960s, mentored by a well known Chicago Civil Rights photographer, Bobby Sengstacke.
Exclusive Interview with Nick Brandt About The Day May Break
Photographed in Zimbabwe and Kenya in late 2020, The Day May Break is the first part of a global series portraying people and animals impacted by environmental degradation and destruction. An ambitious and poetic project picturing people who have all been badly affected by climate change - some displaced by cyclones that destroyed their homes, others such as farmers displaced and impoverished by years-long severe droughts. We asked Nick Brandt a few questions about the project.
Exclusive Interview with Barbara Cole
For the last forty-five years, artist Barbara Cole has been recapturing the otherworldly mysteries of early photography in a body of work that flows in and out of time.
Call for Entries
AAP Magazine #25: B&W
Publish your work in AAP Magazine and win $1,000 Cash Prizes