Markus Andersen, certainly one of the leading street and fine art photographers in Sydney, Australia, and known globally, has just released pre-orders for his first book – and it looks stunning. “Rage Against The Light” published by TG Publishing showcases his wonderful work around his home town of Sydney (
and for the first 100 pre-orders, 42 remaining pre-orders, comes with a free print).
I was curious about how he had managed to get a book produced and what his thoughts were on both his own work and the relevancy of photo books in today’s digital age, and Markus kindly gave up a little time to discuss.
For those who don’t know him, Markus is very much at home on Sydney’s sun drenched streets. He wonderfully interweaves elements of Sydney’s light, it’s inhabitants and the man made structures of the city into graphic and beautifully composed fleeting moments.
From my perspective the “Rage Against The Light” images reflect how the people of the city (or suburbs) scurry about, immersed in their own world, moving through rivers of darkness and light created by the urban and natural environments (both hard edged architecture and the organic world).
As a follower of his work over the last year or so, I was curious to know what the book meant to him, and to see if he had any thoughts he could share on the process of how one can achieve a book deal that might help any one of us looking to one day produce our own photo book.
Markus is pragmatic and utilizes both digital and film to capture the inhabitants of his city as they rush from one place to the next. What’s obvious is that undoubtedly most (if not all) of his subjects never realize just how incredible their shape and form work within the environment of the city, set against the backdrop of fragments of light and dark that he uses to sculpt his imagery.
The inhabitants sometimes race into the sunlight only for a split second, reacting against the light, retreating back into the shadows or alternatively bask for hours in the rays of light, giving in to it. The imagery in the book is drenched in darkness, a thick perfect dark, broken only by the sledgehammer like light of the Australia sun - striking subjects, illuminating movements, actions and their daily lives.
You can get a real sense from the images here and the short video Andersen put together of the tone and mood of “Rage Against The Light”
I was curious how Markus how managed to secure a book deal, something some of us might one day also want to realize. As a long time believer in the power and value of photo books, I’m always curious as to why we as photographers still hold dear the idea of the ‘photo book’, and what it means to different photographers.
I contacted the publisher directly with a proposal for a book which did not come to fruition, fortunately some of the work morphed into “Rage Against The Light”. I found the publisher was after unique ideas, a narrative, or an unusual concept behind the work, something possibly not seen before, something a little different.
Working with a publisher like T&G and with curators, I have learnt what is liked is to see the “photographer” behind the camera in the photos (metaphorically speaking), the personality of the creator of the work coming through in imagery on the page.
In simple terms, what Markus is speaking about is finding your voice as a photographer – and continuing to work consistently towards producing imagery that speaks to your vision. We talk about this a lot (and I’ve written many articles about the importance of this over the years) but it really is true – without this consistency of vision, why would anyone want to publish your work?
Are photo books even still relevant in the digital age? With many people viewing photography online only these days, I was curious about Markus’s view on the relevancy of hard copy, dedicated books in today’s photo world
In my opinion a physical photo book is a completely different experience to a digital image or digital book. You have a relationship with a physical photo book, it becomes an object in your world, or a piece of art in itself. A physical book is a unique a sensory experience; the feel of the paper, the binding, the smell of the pages and so on.
Whether you aspire to produce your own piece of “photo art” in book form or not, I have to agree with Markus. There is simply nothing like being able to pull from a shelf and explore through the pages of a book the work of one of your favorite artists.
For those unfamiliar with Markus and wanting to know more, you can see more of him, his process and his philosophy in “The Belly Of The Beast”, a fantastic mini artist profile shot and put together by Rob Norton
Special thanks – Markus Andersen