interview: Marcus Visic

Our next interviewee is Marcus Visic.

Dark Path

please introduce yourself. what is “your style” of photography?

I grew up looking at photos of my great-grandfather who worked as a medic in the deep Amazon jungle over 100 years ago. I was fascinated by the cultures, strange animals (such as 20 ft anacondas) and incidents he encountered. As well as showing me my great-grandfathers photos, my grandmother would also encourage me to read her collection of National Geographic magazines. From viewing these images I became fascinated with travel, culture and photography, particularly nature and documentary photography. This has strongly influenced my style.

I do feel a bit lost when shooting in an urban environment such as Melbourne. I am still experimenting and developing my style in an urban environment. I guess my style is documentary with some arty influence.

how long have you been shooting film?

I have always been interested in photography. Growing up I would shoot off a roll with my parents 35mm compacts whenever I could. I bought my first digital camera in 2000. In 2007 I returned to university for a year of postgraduate study (in Photography & Cinematography) and had 24/7 access to a studio and darkroom. This was my first experience at developing my own film and creating wet prints, I was hooked instantly by the tactileness, smells and satisfaction of completing a completely analogue process.

Museo Tumbas Reales de Sipán – Lord of Sipan Tomb Museum – Lambayeque, Peru

do you prefer colour or black & white? do you have a favourite film, camera or technique you like to work with?

When shooting film I prefer black and white, mostly because I don’t yet know how to develop my own C41 or E6. Recently I have been mostly shooting with a Voigtländer Vito B. I have been challenging myself to shoot without a meter and guess the focal distance (in feet). Once I am confident enough with this I hope to concentrate on my composition. It is a great feeling when I do end up with a shot I am happy with, knowing there was no electronics involved in the process (until I scan the negs). I am encouraging myself to take my time and think about each shot.

Komodo Dragon – Komdo National Park, Indonesia.

show us one of your favourite shots and tell us a bit about it – how did you take it? is there a story behind it?

This photo was taken on Komodo Island in Indonesia. It is a National Park where you can come face to face with Komodo dragons in the wild. I was there at the end of 2006 with my Indonesian mate Tony (also a film shooter). Tony was kind enough to lend me his Nikon F4 with an 80-200 f/2.8 lens.

Komodo Dragons can run up to 20km/h and kill the occasional tourist. On the island, you are guided by a ranger on the island who makes sure you keep a good distance from them. My mate bribed the ranger to let us up close. I managed to get about 2m away, the dragon watching us closely the whole time, the ranger was really nervous. Shortly after I took this shot, the dragon hissed and looked like he was about to run towards us.

My mate Tony audibly crapped his pants, I had always heard people say “I crapped their pants” but it was the first time I witnessed someone literally crap their pants. At this point the ranger intervened with a big stick and calmly ushered us to safety.

It is one of my favourite shots not just because of the story but also because of the texture of the dragons skin and the cold tones. I also like the shallow depth of field focusing on the dragons eye watching me closely. Perhaps my great-grandchildren will look at this strange beast one day and laugh about Tony crapping his pants.


tyler, by Morganna Magee.

show us a favourite shot from the MSM pool. what do you enjoy in other peoples’ photos?

There is so much variety and unique styles in the MSM pool but I was really drawn to this fantastic and emotive portrait. Whilst it captures a split second in time it also remains timeless and could have been taken any time in the last century.

I am drawn to photos that tell a story and provide an insight into a moment in someone else’s life. I also like to see familiar places that I might walk past and ignore regularly captured in an interesting way.

Degraves Street – Melbourne, Australia

a question from the previous interviewee: Do you like to meticulously plan shoots, or go out (or into the studio) and and see what happens?

I like to go out and see what happens, I prefer the surprise of a happy accident rather than something I have already imagined in my mind.

please give us a question to ask the next person.

How understanding is your family/significant other when you purchase another camera and/or lens – do you hide your purchases from them?

Thanks very much for your time, Marcus! You can see more of his work over on flickr, as well as on his own website.

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interviewsMarcus VisicVoigtländer Vito B

Andrew Cosgriff • May 23, 2010

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