Mark Owens: Celebrity Photography


Mark Owens is a commercial photographer who has done extensive work with celebrities. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in English and studied photography at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. Owens lives in San Diego, California.

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Talk about your commercial career. Variety is nice. Whether it’s a catalog shoot, a landscape assignment, a celebrity portrait or a performance, altering subjects keeps your skills fresh and your mind sharp. It’s also a luxury. Sometimes your subjects or clients aren’t ideal, but that’s common in every profession. I’m just happy to have work.

You did an internship with famed Rolling Stone photographer Mark Seliger. Seliger is a phenomenal talent and was my photographic hero when I was starting out, so swindling them into giving me an internship when I had no photographic training (I have a degree in English) and was out of college for years was a miracle. But it was also a reality check as my one on one time with Seliger was minimal and there was no promise of work / connections after the summer was over. Everything I learned was by observation or by proactively seeking advice from his team. I was a bit disillusioned by him but consider the experience critical as it cemented my desire to make photography a career.

What is your best celebrity photo shoot story? That’s a tough one. Some are scary–Jamie Foxx gave me approximately 6 minutes to shoot. Some are difficult AND scary. My first shoot with Snoop he was late two hours because his custom “Snoop Deville” broke down. He was not happy when he arrived. But luckily he liked the photos so all is well that ends well. Some are surprising: James Hetfield – singer of Metallica – was a extremely well-mannered and mellow. Also, his garage is bigger than my home).

But I would say the best shoot just happened (above). I was in Ibiza with Kaskade and we were cliff jumping into the Mediterranean. The sun was at the right spot and I shot a photo of him on the cliff from the water. It was just a moment but turned into one my favorite photos of him and we’ve been shooting together for almost 10 years. Hard to beat a shoot in Ibiza, the beach, cliff jumping, crystal clear water, and a great artist as my subject.

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All photos copyright Mark Owens.