In the Frame: Mark Little Out at Sea

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By Jamie Zimchek, Editor

Mark Bw 2l3a3417In a region deservedly noted for its sunset-centric images, Mark Little’s photography stands out. Slightly irreverent in scope, Little focuses less on the sandy beaches that draw colorful throngs and more on the ever-changing water. “I like how the ocean is unpredictable,” says Little. One minute it’s a swell of satin, next drawn taut into an easy hill of aquamarine; the next, it’s dark, brooding, mysterious. Equipped with an assortment of cameras and camera casings, it’s not unusual to find Little stalking the perfect macro shot of water texture, or a wave’s curl off a local beach. Occasionally he finds a surfer riding one of the coast’s modest barrels, a rarity in a stretch of the Gulf better known for ankle busters. But it’s not even action in the water he’s after solely – sometimes a serene expanse of semi-flat sea offset by a flawless sky fills his frame, and makes it to print.

Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, Little, the son of a photographer and printer, is well acquainted with the scent of darkroom chemicals and the intricacies of 35mm film.These days, his equipment is digital, his images recognizable for their strong, sometimes stark, portrayal of the Gulf of Mexico. A musician and film-maker in his off-hours, Little brings something tangibly different – in part perhaps because of his creative diversity – to photography. “To me, photography is a way that I can freeze time and then have time later to reflect on what happened in the moment,” explains Little. “I like the way that photography really allows me to live in a moment after the moment has passed.”

Often his framed prints are stunningly expansive in scope, sometimes as wide and high as seven feet, making them seem almost life-sized – you can almost touch that wave just beginning to break on its way to frame’s edge. Little often shoots in a square format, which well suits the structure of his sky and water compositions. It gives each piece a modern, minimal feel that shuts out everything else in favor of a meditation on elegance, and the sublime. His work hangs in collections from designers to NFL players, including a 14-piece commission for Alys Beach. He doesn’t show in galleries anymore but works exclusively with collectors.

To learn more about Little and see more of his work, find him at www.marklittlephotos.com.