QnA with Mark Elliar, Kapampangan Photographer in Paris

Humility separates photographer Mark Elliar Trinidad Carreon from his peers in the dog-eat-dog competition in Paris, France – the fashion capital of the world. Mark Elliar in Paris resonates the story of “Emily in Paris” with a Filipino touch, a Kapampangan touch actually.

While caring for kids, Mark Elliar pursued his passion for photography, and now works as a creative artist in an advertising firm. Mind you, this is not the Philippines, this is Paris, where the best fashion photographers are hired to capture the latest in the fashion scene.

iOrbitNews Lifestyle Editor Larrica Angela Cunanan-Dinio interviews Mark Elliar. Excerpts from the interview.

What inspired you to pursue a career in photography outside the Philippines?

To be honest, when I arrived in Paris, I don’t know much about photography or videography. In fact, I worked here as a babysitter of two young boys, and as an office cleaner of a big company. I worked for two straight years before I discovered my passion for photography and videography.

After sharing with my boss my interest (in photography), he was so kind to offer me a 20 percent company discount for all the gears I need to buy. It was a big help indeed. He believed in me and my dreams. Because at one point, he used to be me. They are not rich but he has a big dream for his family. My boss referred me to a businesswoman who needs a video and photo service and luckily that project was huge. The businesswoman rented the Louvre Museum exclusively for only 50 guests wherein only few rich people in the world have done it. Fortunately, that project was a good start and it created a buzz among my friends in social media.
I got discovered by a Mexican-French photographer who happened to be the reason too how I got in to the advertising agency. This Mexican-French has discovered me when I was shooting for a Fitness shop in Paris. He loves the video I did for that project and he contacted me and introduce me to different brands and influencers in Paris for some projects.

Where are your roots here in Pampanga? What’s your educational background? Do you speak Kapampangan? How young are you? Previous employment here in PH?

I was born in City of San Fernando Pampanga. Both of my parents are Kapampangans. My mom is from San Fernando while my dad is from Santo Tomas, thus it is safe to say that I am a full-blooded Kapampangan. And of course, I am proud to be a Kapampangan. In fact, at home, we still speak Kapampangan as it makes life easier for us. Funny thing is, even when I speak English or Tagalog, I still sound Kapampangan.

All my studying years from Elementary to College had been spent in Pampanga even though I had this plan about taking a college course in Manila, I opted to stay in Pampanga for my own convenience. I finished bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication.

What were some of the challenges you faced when breaking into the luxury brand and celebrity photography industry in Paris?

Working in the luxury industry as a creative is a very rewarding opportunity. In fact, just by seeing the word “luxury,” it will already give a notion of opulence, rich people or expensive things. That is true. That is actually the challenged I needed to face when I was a newbie. To be honest, I wasn’t born with a silver spoon, so to be working is to mingle too with who you are working with right? And for me that was the thought then. I needed to fight in a battlefield that I am not familiar with. I need to be very professional the way I talk, write, dress and behave consistently. To dress well is my nemesis because I was known for my comfy outfit ever since. And as I am now on my second year in the company, I have learned that in the luxury industry, attitude is more important than talent or skills. You can always easily learn how to improve your craft but a wrong attitude is a different story. The constant respect, loyalty or professionalism in totality is a must especially when you shoot famous people or when you shoot for a luxury brand.

How do you balance your work as a photographer with your responsibilities as a father and husband? Share how your wife supports you and how your child motivates you.

My wife Ann is my number one cheerer, number one supporter. She is my bestfriend at the same time. She is always the first one to know my shooting schedules. As a full-time creative, it is inevitable to have a busy schedule. Sometimes it is not just about being busy but to be also busy and away from my family at the same time. Sometimes they send me for out-of-town shoots, international assignments or sometimes even when you are not away from your family, you will be shooting for several days in Paris. Like for instance, on fashion week.

The shooting days are the ones easy. But the editing days are the ones that are hard simply because it will eat your time. Sometimes it would mean skipping meals, skipping your workout routine, skipping a family bonding time. Because as creative, you have deadlines. For me, what I would do is to finish everything first so that afterwards, I can devote a day for my family.

What do you consider to be your signature style or approach to photography? There are a lot of photographers in the industry, what made you stand out from the rest?

There are, indeed, a lot of very good photographers in the world and in fact most of them are in Paris. However, I still don’t consider myself that I belong to that list. Also, I don’t think that I stand out from the rest, I strongly believed that we are all very good. And it is only a matter the clients’ taste or preferences that separates us. Some wants vibrant photos, some wants neutral, or filmic.

Although my fellow photographers, the celebrities and influencers who I had a photo session with, the say just the same, that my outputs really look professionally done, very clean and nice.

What’s your camera brand? Talk about your lenses, tools, gears.

From the very start, I am a Sony mirrorless camera user. I like it a lot. It maybe expensive but because of the comfortability and familiarity, I always picked the Sony brand when upgrading. In fact, I just upgraded and added another Sony camera in my arsenal. I now have a total of 3 camera bodies: The newly release a7rv, a7iv and my new fx3. All Sony.

In fact, 4 out of 5 of my lenses are Sony brand too.

It is so hard to imagine how I got so far like this, in terms of the number of gears I have in my office. The total amount of all my camera, camera lenses and all the gears that I am using, in Philippine pesos it is like P1.8 million. I can’t believe that I will reach this point of having the capability to buy all these things that I use.

What advice would you give to aspiring photographers looking to enter the industry?

The best unsolicited advice that I can give to my fellow photographers or creatives like me is the advice that I embraced since I heard it. It was the line that late Kobe Bryant said, “Keep Going.”

People normally would not appreciate every “starting point”. They would want to only see the final result of what you have become. They normally don’t care what is behind our outputs, how they were done and the effort that we exert. So, for me, Bryan is correct. We just have to keep going. Grind until you drop. Grind until somebody will notice your works because the more you work hard, the better and faster you will improve without even realizing that you already excelled than yesterday and you are already doing something great. I believe that what separates me from others is my attitude of not being jealous of what others have attained. I am very focused on my own craft. This is my strong trait.

You were first featured on local Kapampangan media agencies here, how did the Holy Angel University – Center for Kapampangan Studies helped you with this?

HAU-CKS Director Robby Tantingco is friend of my very good friend, Leo Calma. Leo knows my story here (overseas) because my life is an open book in the social media because I always try to inspire my friends and families that if you work hard, no matter where you are now and what your status is, it is possible to reach our goals especially if glued with prayers. On that note, Sir Robby and Leo found my story interesting, that I started as a babysitter and a cleaner at the same time. For them, they appreciate the amount of grind it took for me to get where I am now, especially knowing that I am a Kapampangan too.

What exciting projects do you have in the works for the future?

Oh yes. I am actually excited in the coming months because I was told that I might be coming to London and New York for work. If ever, it will be my first time in the USA and second time in London. Also, I was informed that there is another luxury brand that I will be working at. For now, I can’t disclose the full details about these projects for privacy reasons but yes, I am really excited in the coming months.

WP2Social Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com