Mack Sturgis Studio
A Creative Adventure Into An Uninhibited Mind Through Photography
As is usually the case, it is often one particular image that inspires me to seek out more work from the photographer. In the case of Dallas artist Mack Sturgis it was the image below of model Gary Gersbach. I love this shot! The darkness, the light hitting such beautiful places. The bed position and model position create a simple yet complete story. With Gary's face mostly hidden, the mood is created almost entirely through pose and light.
'I had just finished the entire art package for the renovation of a Major Airport Hotel...had one of the suites overlooking the runway for the weekend and thought it would be cool to bring in a model to shoot in the space. The shots of Gary are what evolved from that shoot. It was very comfortable working with him and he was great with interpreting my direction...and very much a sport about wearing the mask! There was intriguing energy in the rooms during the shoot...'
Soooo.... As I usually do, I began with the first image on Mack's Model Mayhem page and after enjoying each shot, pushed the arrow to move on to the next. Many of the first section of shots were of Gary, including the incredible shot above.
Then...and rather abruptly, Mack's work took a sudden and unexpected left turn. Most photographers, good ones anyway, have some slight twists and turns, back and forth along the way. With Mack the turn was more dramatic and unexpected. Faces began to sport gas masks and the darkness that initially drew me in became more specific, more violent and more intentional.
Themes of death and destruction, war and torture are weaved within the beautiful and erotic. Although this is not the first time I have seen such themes incorporated into images of the male form, but I think this is the first time I have seen it done so effectively.
Many people seem to gravitate towards things that scare them. I am not so sure I am one of those people. With FH especially, I often pass on work that I think might be too provocative and especially work that's violent. What I cannot pass up on however is work that inspires me. I think provocative is only actually scary when its badly done. In the case of Mack Sturgis, his work did not simply create one emotion but on a roller coaster ride of them. Beginning with arousal moving quickly to shock and surprise through a bit of disgust, some sadness leading to oddly enough a little hope. The hope stems less from the images themselves but more from the actual creation of them.
Capturing moments in time through light.
Through experimenting with light and reflection, Mack has been creating powerful, original images which energize the mind for close to 30 year. Mack's goal is to allow the images, born in his mind, to emerge through the lens as closely as possible to what his mind had seen. Mack's images are created entirely combining the depth of his imagination and the ability of the camera to recreate them using combinations of lighting, camera movement and lens manipulation.
'The images are an attempt to honestly express in an uninhibited way ideas which have naturally evolved in his mind...images which may evoke a wide range of emotions, passions, stimulation's and conversations. Mack's desire is for the viewer to experience them with the same open mind he used to create them.'
Most of us, especially as we become older, become skilled at censoring and manipulating the ideas and thoughts which stream through our mind. Whether it be to conform or out of fear, it is a risky concept to share exactly what your thinking or envisioning. It is in the taking of the risk that really seems to truly define an artist. Creating the vision, and not a generically accepted version of it, is what makes Mack's work so absorbing.
Church & State
For those who check out FH on a regular basis you know, I tend to often get a little long winded in my descriptions of the images that I love. With the exception of the final image below, I will let Mack's work speak for itself. Mack says that there is no literal translation for his work.
'It is work that should be perceived and assessed by the viewer without thought of suggestion'.
I encourage you all to explore and assess more of Mack's work on his official site HERE: You can also see more of his recent work by 'liking' his photography page of Facebook HERE:
Also be sure to check out the artists unique visual abstract images at Decompressionism by Bettinger Studio
Birth Of The Bomb