Portfolio: Marco Kesseler

In today's edition of "Portfolio" – British photographer Marco Kesseler who shoots documentary projects.

The section “Portfolio” shows photos of young photographers who work in different genres. Bird In Flight asks them to explain their motivation to engage in photography, what goals they have, and who they learn from. Today’s issue features the portfolio of Marco Kesseler.

Marco Kesseler, 25 years old

He lives in London, Great Britain, and graduated from the Falmouth University. Kesseler has showcased his work at The National Portrait Gallery in London, New York Photo Festival; received The IdeasTap Photographic Award in 2013 and has been highly praised in the Magenta Flash Forward Award. More recently, Marco exhibited work at Paris Photo, PhotoIreland Festival and was shortlisted for The Renaissance Photography Prize for his work documenting the lead up to Ukraine’s revolution.

When did you get involved in photography?
I grew up constantly around photography and art, so I don’t really remember a conscious point in my life where I chose that path. Of course I remember getting my first camera and specific exhibitions, but guess it was really in the years running up to university where I started spending more of my time researching and practicing it.

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What do you shoot?
I’m really interested in lots of forms of photography and looking at how influences can be taken from painting or cinema, but so far most of the work I have been producing has been focused on aspects of documentary and storytelling, both through personal connections and as part of larger news events. For me it’s a reason to be able to go anywhere and learn about people’s experiences, spend time being able to do what I love so that I can share it with others.
Why do you consider photography your thing?
I think it was Elliott Erwitt who said that the point of taking pictures is so that you don’t have to explain with words, and while I don’t think that photographers can totally rely on this idea any more, I have always been much more comfortable in expressing myself using visual language.
What, in your opinion, makes a good photograph?
Obviously composition, content etc. play an important role, but to me a great photograph is something that really connects the viewer to the subject matter and plays with his or her emotions, whether it’s just for fun or something that makes you stop and think.
What difficulties do you run into as a photographer?
I guess there are some difficulties within the industry as a whole, but as a young photographer that never experienced the model that a lot of older photographers still work with, I really don’t have a problem. I haven’t had to adapt the way that I work or keep up with how the role of photography has changed. I see now as an exciting time – we’re taking more photos than ever before and our lives are increasingly surrounded by it. I think the challenge will be how to deal with the longevity of photographic work when there is such a hunger for the next “thing.”

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Who and what inspires you?
I’ve just got back from getting overloaded by photography at Paris Photo, but there was some great work that stood out. Clementine Schneidermann’s “Elvis” project, Mikhael Subotzky’s new book “Ponte City” and Iris Hutegger’s works, but I always find myself going back to renaissance painting and cinema for inspiration as well.
What camera do you shoot with?
Most of the time I shoot with Mamiya 7, other times I work with Canon 5D Mark II.
Do you earn a living from photography?
Yes. It wasn’t an instant transition from leaving University though, and at times it still has uncertainties, but I would take that any day over a regular job.
What would you do if not photography?
To be honest I really don’t know – I can’t think of anything I’d rather be.
What are your goals?
Continue pushing myself and progress to create a much longer term body of work that I’m proud of. So far projects that I have worked on have felt unfinished. I want to be able to build on this and produce something that I feel is complete.

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