Marcus Clackson has been a commercial and editorial photographer for two decades. He likes to shoot in a freewheeling style, with creative freedom he learned way back at art school.
‘Whatever you’re photographing, it’s all about getting the shot,’ says Marcus Clackson. ‘Whether it is editorial, commercial or personal work, it’s all about portraying your best ideas’. For Marcus, the most exciting thing about being a professional photographer is that you never quite know what the next assignment will be. ‘Sometimes it feels as though you’re photographing a lot of portraits, while, at other times you seem to be working more in lifestyle’. Marcus says that, over the years, he’s worked with a broad cross-section of clients, from Sunday supplements to the rock music press. ‘But I’ve also worked with quite a few arts magazines, photographing directors, actors and artists’.
Marcus studied art at Bath College of Art (now called Bath School of Art and Design), which had ‘a really good photographic department’. Although he started out as a painter and print-maker, he soon gravitated to where his primary interest lay, spending more and more time hanging out with technicians in the darkroom. ‘That’s how I cut my teeth and that was my training. But it was fundamentally an art degree, which meant that when I finished, I still had a lot to learn about photography. Luckily I had a tutor who had worked in advertising in London. He helped me to get a full-time assisting job for a couple of really good photographers’. After this initial role, Marcus progressed into the commercial world of design and advertising agencies, where ‘it was always interesting and varied work. We’d be taking pictures of everything from Formula 1 to shire horses, as well as food, still life and people. It was a great time and I really learned a lot at that studio’.
‘People often ask me what type of photography I concentrate on, and the answer is mostly people, portraiture and lifestyle. That’s been the main focus of the past 20 years and the core of what I still do today,’ Marcus says. ‘But recently I’ve been experimenting with photographing landscapes and I’ve also been shooting a lot more nature. And I absolutely love it. I have recently been working on a macro landscape project with the new OM-D E-M1 Mark II and the M.Zuiko Digital ED 30mm 1:3.5 macro and 60mm 1:2.8 macro lenses. The lightweight and robust all-weather body is great for handholding, especially with the superb in-built five-axis image stabilisation, and its smaller size really allows me to get into the action in any conditions. The new super-fast focusing makes it ideal for working with subjects that move around erratically, and I can capture a pin-sharp point of focus even with a wide-open aperture. The 30mm macro lens lets me get in close with small subjects to achieve quite ambient and unusual bokeh results, giving the images a very different style and feel.’
Marcus says he finds that photography brings together his artistic way of seeing things with a more literal approach to life. ‘Art taught me that there are no rules. When I give talks now to either amateurs or professionals the one thing I find myself often saying is, “don’t get too hung up on the way other people do things”. I’m a firm believer in experimentation. There’s no right or wrong.’
Article featured in Outdoor Photography Magazine in April 2017