Image by Brian Sullivan   "Shoot what you feel, not what you see." - de Paola

Image by Brian Sullivan

"Shoot what you feel, not what you see." - de Paola

Mark de Paola


Mark de Paola was literally born into a photo studio on Cahuenga Blvd in Los Angeles and grew up splitting time between Los Angeles and New York. Mark's earliest recollections are of watching photoshoots and being completely immersed in the fashion books and periodicals of the time, Vogue and Harpers Bazaar. Mark's photographic foundation is the works of his father Alessio, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Bert Stern, and Art Kane.

Having learned on an 8x10 Deardorff, Mark's personal obsession began at age 12 when he was given his first professional camera, a Nikon F, and the obsession continues to this day. Mark would roam the streets of New York City photographing candid beauty and annoying the many camera shop owners. He would photograph the hippie girls at the Bethesda Fountain in Central Park on the weekends until, with a gun to his head, his Nikon F and all his lenses were stolen on one rainy Sunday. He still wants the film that was in the camera. This did not alter Mark's determination, who worked at a local drug store in exchange for film processing, saved his allowance, and bought a Leica M3 rangefinder which was to form what is Mark's unique vision.

Mark's vision is best described as a combination of reportage, fashion, and beauty. It has always been Mark's objective to capture a natural beauty in a setting where a model's personality is allowed to flourish while a story is being told.

Mark's very first assignment was a magazine cover image of actor Henry Fonda. While working in New York, Los Angeles, and Milano, Mark would go on to shoot countless campaigns, editorials, and covers, including those for Vogue Mexico and Vogue Spain.

Mark's story telling still style quickly translated to motion/ television commercials where Mark directed/shot several hundred spots including those for Anheuser-Busch (aired on Super Bowl), Giorgio Perfume (exhibited in Museum of Modern Art N.Y.), Donna Karan, Neutrogena, English Ideas Cosmetics, Sony Cybershot, Century 21 Real Estate, Ford Motorsports, Toyota, Ducati Motorcycles, Kawasaki Jet Skis, and many more; all with an eye for style and realism.

De Paola continues to work with select clients around the world combining his artistic sensibilities. 

De Paola's fine art photographic series, 60 Seconds, has been exhibited at the Leica Gallery San Francisco, Leica Gallery Los Angeles, Leica Gallery Boston, and Leica Gallery Ginza in Tokyo,  with several more international solo exhibitions slated for 2017.  Mark's work is included in fine art photographic collections, both public and private, around the world. "60 Seconds" delves into a realm of abstract figures, fluidity, and poetic forms, challenging and seducing the limits of motion contained within still image. With each photograph taken handheld with a 60 second exposure, de Paola has discovered the connection between his physiological make up, the Leica M camera as a tool, and time, the unflinching competitor to the timeless image. The limited edition signed "60 Seconds" signed maquettes were released Fall 2017 and are available exclusively through the dePAOLA Pictures official website. 

De Paola's fine art series Art of Backstage is a worldwide collaboration with Aveda during New York Fashion Weeks. Immersed in the primal backstage environment of fashion week, de Paola documents a visual collective consciousness between artists, immortalizing a look otherwise walked and disposed of. Rendering de Paola’s unmanipulated and cinematic narrative, Art of Backstage has been produced using with the historic photojournalist’s tool, the Leica Camera. The series was most recently exhibited at the Leica Store Ginza Six in Tokyo, the 7th Dali International Photo Festival in Dali, China, and the Leica Gallery Soho in New York City.

Recent Work is de Paola's most current fine art series that debuted at PhotoFairs SF alongside Fred Lyon, Ralph Gibson and Danny Wilcox Frazier with the Leica Gallery San Francisco in Winter 2018. Created over several years, the series includes portrait, nude, landscape, and inanimate object, and narrates de Paola’s memories, feelings and impressions of people, places and objects he has known. De Paola’s desire to wield the lens as an extension of his own body is clear in the subtle way he escorts us through his cinematic world. The series premiered at the Leica Gallery Porto Fall 2018, opened in May 2019 at The Gallery at Leica Store San Francisco, and will travel to Milan, Italy in 2019.

Alongside the Recent Work series debut in Porto, de Paola launched the Recent Work book published by Alex Ramos Press in collaboration with the Leica Store San Francisco. The Recent Work book was added to the permanent collection libraries at both Museum of Modern Art in New York City and The Getty, Los Angeles in January 2019.

Mark's work is included in fine art photographic collections, both public and private, around the world.

In addition, Mark continues to give master classes worldwide including a discussion “The Truth” with Alessia Glaviano, Senior Photo Editor at Vogue Italia, “Stanley Kubrick: The Exhibition” at the Contemporary Jewish Museum San Francisco, "Leica M Panel" with Ralph Gibson and Leica Camera at Photoville New York City, and de Paola's Masterclass “Photography Wide Open” at the Leica Store San Francisco, the Leica Gallery Los Angeles, the Leica Store Boston, the Leica Store Tokyo, and the New York Film Academy. Most recently, de Paola gave a private master workshop at the Great Wall of China and a three day intensive in the ancient Chinese town of Dali.  

Producing and directing multiple upcoming feature films, including Proof Film, as well as producing his own fine art portfolios, de Paola melds the crossroads between both fine art and commercial aesthetic.

Commercial Credits: Vogue Spain, Vogue Mexico, Giorgio RED Worldwide Launch, Brioni, Gucci, Donna Karan, English Ideas Cosmetics, Sephora, MAC Cosmetics, Neutrogena, Aveda, Smart, Leica Camera AG (Leica TL2 + Thambar Lens commercial launches), and Sony + nearly 700 television commercials.


Image by Mike Kobal

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