“He sees the world in a unique way and he manages to capture that in an image.”
Mark Leary’s imagery is dreamlike. Whether it’s magnificent snow-capped mountains or surfers at sunset, everything he shoots has a magical quality.
His pictures convey universal concepts of wonder, adventure, exploration, living in the moment and mindfulness. But his distinctive style is what has led him to work across various industries and with brands such as British Airways, Ikea, MasterCard, Nike, Yahoo and Vans.
“There’s stillness to his imagery, which is comforting,” said Guy Merrill, a Senior Art Director at Getty Images who works closely with Leary. “It makes the world seem like a calm and tranquil and inviting place.”
Leary’s work creates a very particular mood and uses a very precise color palette. He shoots on film and leaves the review process until weeks later when he can view his images with fresh eyes.
“Mark’s composition draws you into specific detail and helps you see it in a different way,” Merrill said. “He has a very specific treatment, which mimics his experience of the places – it’s a mixture of the magic that he feels, together with nostalgia.
Leary’s precision is particularly evident in a shoot he recently did with surfers in Cornwall.
“When the sun came out and the skies cleared I grabbed my camera and decided to shoot the surfers,” Leary said. “I waded out to my waist and let them go past me until I saw this moment.”
Leary says he won’t take capture a moment unless he feels it is exactly right.
“I have been known to spend an hour composing a shot and then not taking it because it’s not right,” he said. “My assistant, or whoever is with me, has asked why I don’t take just one shot. But if it’s not right, I’d rather turn my attention to something that will be right.”
Leary said inspiration can be found everywhere, but particularly outdoors. That’s where he spends a majority of his time surfing, climbing and cycling.
It shows in his work.
“Mark has an interesting take on travel,” Merrill said. “He sees the world in a unique way and he manages to capture that in an image.”Explore more of Mark Leary’s photography on Getty Images