Mark Hunter Invites You to the Party
Las Vegas is legendary. “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” they tell us, relieving us from the pressure of the repercussions of out choices. That’s why we spend so much money, dress up so fancy, and party so hard – none of it matters! But in recent years revelers have looked for something a little different, a little more casual, and for some, LAX Nightclub is exactly that. The new Las Vegas club teamed up with Mark Hunter on an introductory campaign that shows off exactly the vibe at the club – something that Mark knows very well. “LAX nightclub and I have a history since my early party days,” Mark explains. The club started in LA by the late, legendary DJ AM and Mark has been going since forever. “We would throw these parties at his LAX nightclubs and they were perfect,” he says. This time LAX just wanted him to keep the party going, and keep the camera snapping.
“We did a real life casting and all the models schlepped out on a party bus from LA, and went straight into the nightclub so they were ready and wild,” says Mark. “And then working within the actual club environment was so fun for me because that’s what I do.” No matter what he’s doing, Mark always tries to create an atmosphere on set that matches the energy of the final images perfectly. To get a party they threw a party at the actual club. Everything you see in the photos is actually happening, and very little is staged – and when you go to LAX you night might look exactly like what you’re seeing in the ads.
The match up of LAX and Mark is more than aesthetic. What makes LAX different is what makes Mark different. “LAX is a club for everybody and you don’t have to get dressed up fancy. It’s not about bottle service, it’s not about paying a huge cover fee, it’s about coming and having fun,” says Mark. “That’s somewhere where I would prefer to go. I would never spend thousands of dollars on a nightclub table and try to impress my friends, that’s just not me and I know that there’s a lot of other people like me.” This is a place where everyone is welcome, and Mark’s work shows how welcoming and unassuming the place is. What happens in Vegas might stay in Vegas, but it doesn’t have to – you can remember it forever.
Mark Hunter Celebrates the Holidays with Sunglass Hut
With winter comes snowy days and plunging temperatures. We bundle up with scarves and cozy coats, but Mark Hunter wants to make sure you also grab a pair of sunglasses. This Holiday Season the photographer teamed up with Sunglass Hut on their holiday campaign that’s more than just an effort to move sunglasses. With that blinding white snow blanketing the ground, you need them. “You would normally relate sunglasses to warm times and the beach and all that but it’s sunny all year round. So it makes sense that even in the fall or winter it would be a great time for sunglasses. You need to protect your eyes,” explains Mark. They created a campaign that explores the holidays while also offering a clear and clean aesthetic, bridging the gap between expectations and celebration.
“We picked such a special location in the heart of Malibu where we’re in such a remote, beautiful serene place with this really modern, pimped-out airstream and an amazing cast that was just full of crazy energy,” says Mark. “We shot this over the summer so it was funny because as they were dressed for the fall; it was quite hot.” Mark is always very careful to create a mood on set that is high energy and fun so that the feeling of the images doesn’t have to be faked or acted. Instead, it’s a true party atmosphere where everyone has fun. Once he’s created that, all Mark has to do is step back and witness what he’s set in motion. It all unfolds on its own.
More than just a stills campaign, Mark worked with Sunglass Hut to create a commercial with some unexpected results. “I’m actually most excited that it was piggybacked as a video concept where we also filmed a full commercial which, to our amazement, was on broadcast television. it was kind of a surprise,” says Mark. “It goes super hand-in-hand with what I think a lot of clients want nowadays. There’s so many mediums with Instagram video and YouTube and all that. You don’t want to just have still images.” Creating this kind of multidirectional project is more and more important for engaging as many customers as possible, and Mark has honed all of these skills so that he can deliver to his clients exactly what they need when they need it, while speaking directly to their audience. It’s full service.
Mark was able to go so in depth with the story behind this campaign because he relates to it directly. It’s shows more than just some folks having fun with each other on Christmas, it tells the story of how to have a happy holiday. “The concept of celebrating the holidays with your friends is something that really relates to me because that’s basically how I spend my holidays: with friends,” Mark says. “I actually work hardest during the holidays because that’s a time that I can play catchup when I have some great goals for the year ahead. It’s December and then January, and New Year’s Resolutions, so I use that time to master my business and see how I can grow for the future.” Now is the perfect time to pause and look the days and months ahead, and if you’re going to take the time to do that you might as well be surrounded by loved ones, whether it’s your friends or your family. Just make sure to protect those eyes!
Mark Hunter Stays Forever 21
Turning 21 is one of the most exciting birthdays. A totally new world opens up filled with new opportunities and stirring adventures. That energy is exactly what Forever 21 captures every day. The fashion brand’s whole look is about holding onto the joy and exploration that comes with turning 21 and letting it live on forever. When it came time to shoot their latest season they turned to Mark Hunter who has made a career out of capturing energy just like that in fashion. For him, it was second nature. “This campaign was all about the fun loving energy: this playful, youthful spirit of being forever 21, which is like the most awesome name for a brand,” says Mark with a laugh. “And I think that at the same time they’re trying to elevate.” Part of taking it to the next level was bringing on Pyper and Daisy America, two sisters whose modeling work is captivating the world.
It’s the easy and free energy of the America sisters that’s drawing the world to them and that’s exactly what Mark connected with immediately. “When they told me they had Pyper America and her sister Daisy I was really excited because they are superstar It Girls that I’ve been wanting to shoot with,” says Mark. “They shoot with the top photographers all around the world, so it was nice to be in good company.” As the shoot progressed, the America sisters and Mark got along famously creating a fantastic collaborative energy in front of the camera, but Mark was also able to create that same collaborative energy behind the camera by taking advantage of creative technology.
Setting up with his digital technician and a tethering rig, Mark and his clients watched every shot as he took it, allowing him to work with the clients in real time. By taking out the guess work and time delay, they were able to amplify their creative exchanges and get exactly what they needed. “The clients loved it because we got to review the images and make sure that everyone was happy as we were shooting,” says Mark. “We were accomplishing and knocking each shots out one by one.” Since everything was happening in the moment, Mark and his clients were able to keep their eye on the ball, creating their vision with every click of the shutter without sacrificing the littlest bit of momentum. When technology and personalities come together it creates the perfect creative maelstrom to capture the energy of being forever 21.
Mark Hunter Gets Personal for Virgin Mobile
Virgin Mobile has millions of customers all over the world. They’re a company of inclusion, offering access to their wireless networks in a way that activates as many people as possible. They wanted to highlight that for their latest campaign and asked Mark Hunter to help them out with it. The images needed to be crisp and clean enough for a major campaign, but feel loose and friendly, almost like a club atmosphere. To walk the line between an efficient structured shoot while achieving the feeling Virgin wanted meant that Mark had to strike a very specific tone. Mark’s experience worked for him in hitting that balance. “It was really, really action packed, and they had very specific requirements because they had to showcase certain products in certain shots and reach certain target demographics,” says Mark. “It was about elevating my version of shooting nightlife but in a very structured way, or shooting lifestyle but in a very, very structured way.” The demands were high, but it was Mark’s ability to match those demands that made it successful.
They wanted to create a campaign that would appeal to everyone, so consumers would see the advertisements as a reflection of themselves. Rather than going the traditional route with models, they cast people who don’t typically work that way. It meant that they aren’t necessarily used to interacting with a photographer and a camera, but that’s not a problem for Mark at all. “I have a really, really fun time interacting with people that I’ve never met before,” says Mark. “This was shot in Canada, in Toronto where I’d been a handful of times but when we were working on the casting they were strangers to me. Within 15 minutes of shooting we were all best friends. I think that’s one of my greatest assets: that I can relate to my models and my talent.” That relationship totally changes the way things happen on set.
On any photo shoot there are so many moving pieces that can get in the way and be distracting, pulling focus from the most important thing: what’s happening between the camera and the subjects. But Mark makes sure that’s never a liability by connecting directly with his models. “It’s less about me and my equipment and more about my personal interaction with the subject,” explains Mark. “The camera is secondary because I’m so used to the way I shoot. I’m their friend, I’m with them in the moment.” Mark’s presence means that the people featured in the advertisements are present too, bringing us into their world and making us a part of it.
Mark Hunter Exceeds Wildfox's New Demands
We don’t have to tell you that Mark Hunter has been collaborating with Wildfox for years. Their working relationship goes far back to the beginning of the brand and Mark’s own career, but each have grown independently, thanks in part to how they’ve grown together. Wildfox’s latest growth in the fashion world is their new fragrance that is licensed and managed by Elizabeth Arden, the beauty heavyweight. In order to keep a consistent look with the rest of Wildfox’s visual identity, having Mark Hunter shoot the campaign was a no brainer, but because it was a totally different kind of product it was going to be a totally different kind of shoot.
Typically, when Mark teams up with Wildfox they keep everything super agile so that they can create a library of imagery for Wildfox to build a whole world around the visual language. But for Elizabeth Arden there were certain tones they had to hit and images they needed to capture, so Mark blended his own relaxed style into the format that Elizabeth Arden required. “The whole approach of this was a bit different,” says Mark. “The production was a lot bigger, there were a lot more people on set. They had a lot of live animals on set from snakes to fancy birds and other exotic things to sort of elevate the shoot. So there was a lot going on.” Despite all the extra moving pieces, Mark was still able to do exactly what he needed to do without losing a hint of his signature energy and style.
The blend ended up being seamless, creating the continuity between Elizabeth Arden’s different expectations and the relationship that Mark and Wildfox have nourished over the years. “Everyone on the Arden team was super happy with the final images,” says Mark. “This is just the beginning of the launch, so these images are going to be seen a lot in more mass than any of the previous Wildfox campaigns. There will be displays in all the department stores, there’s a print campaign, and there’s billboards going up as we speak. So it’s going to have a bigger reach, which is definitely exciting.” As their relationship grows, so does the work they do together and no one could be happier with the results.
It's Wild On Set with Mark Hunter and UE Boom
Mark Hunter’s work is filled with a signature energy. He honed that look when he was photographing nightclubs, and has carried it into his commercial work, creating space for those energies to converge when paired up with the right brands. UE Boom, a portable speaker company, is one of those brands that he’s found synergy with. “I’ve worked with UE Boom now for a few years on different projects, and there’s something about their product that just creates an insane energy,” he says. “What’s so great about working for them is they want to show the versatility of the speaker and all the fun things you can do with it. So we always try to push it to the limit." And for their latest campaign, they did push it to the limit.
Mark and his crew traveled to Topanga Canyon in Los Angeles with their talent to throw a massive party and shoot the campaign as the celebration went on. “We had a slip-n-slide, we had water balloons, squirt gun fights, we did a little barbeque,” says Mark. “When I do these kinds of lifestyle shoots, I really want to set up an environment where my models are going to actually enjoy themselves.” Basically, Mark lets his on camera talent jump into the party and then he grabs his camera and captures as many authentic moments as he can. It’s the only way to ensure that every moment will reflect honest moments and energy.
With that many people running around, water flying every which way, and the music dialed up to 100, it can be challenging to coordinate everything. But for Mark, that’s a part of what makes it so great. “It’s a delicate balance when you’re directing the talent to act natural and look out for the product. It’s a very overwhelming set but it’s sort of how I thrive,” he explains. At the end of the day, it all works with Mark’s style to create the best campaign possible. “It’s not posed; the images are reacting to the elements and what’s happening. It is one of the best translations of my photography style into a commercial situation.”
For a portable, waterproof speaker the energy that Mark Hunter brings to all his shoots was exactly what they needed.
The Delight is in the Details for Mark Hunter
Mark Hunter’s ongoing relationship with Wildfox is no accident. Every shoot has grown with them hand in hand. Mark works off what the brand is up to, and Mark’s style allows the human elements of the brand to shine through in their high concept ideas. “We always try to push the boundaries of the concept of the shoot. And pay attention to the smallest little details,” explains Mark. “It was supposed to be a Hamptons house during Summer with these girls who are vacationing. And we brought in sand to sprinkle around the bathtub to make it look like they’ve just come from the beach.” Those little details ground the images in a visual truth that is slightly different from reality. In fact, the whole project was shot in Pasadena, California. But it was little details like a handful of sand that made the concept feel true and natural.
Once Wildfox comes up with their idea for the season’s shoot, it’s up to Mark to execute them. A carefree weekend on the Hamptons is not an easy task on a set with high fashion models. But Mark’s personality and shooting style makes it possible. “These are traditional fashion models, but with the way that I capture them they feel really personable. You want to be hanging out with them. You feel like they’re your best friends,” he says. “These models are used to really intense European fashion modeling, with photographers that yell and scream. I’m the exact opposite of that. So I want to be as chill and as friendly with them as possible.” By reaching out to his models personally, Mark creates an atmosphere that allows them to relax, and then the viewers can find a way to connect with them.
The atmosphere that Mark creates makes room for an experimental and safe play space where the models can just be themselves and explore. They can take risks. And that makes it possible for Mark to capture images that otherwise would never present themselves. “It was really fun shooting the girls on bikes,” he says. “I think there’s something just so free spirited about girls riding on bikes. And they both sort of struggling which was even more awesome. It’s those little moments where you really see their true spirit and a real genuine smile.”
For Mark, the development of each particular shoot is as important as their multi year relationship. Each piece must be crafted carefully to fit into the larger brand story. “Every shoot we’re getting something a little bit different but still staying true to their brand.” Every time they work together they reach a little further, and make choices that are bolder, fuller, and richer. But, as Mark points out, they never lose sight of the small stuff. And we all know the delight is in the details.
Mark Hunter and Wildfox Inject Elegance into the Wild
Every new season gives clothing brands the opportunity to tell a new story. By evolving styles over time, they show off different facets and developing tastes. When their customers change they change, and the story must change along with them. That’s why when Wildfox’s latest season was going to be revealed, Mark Hunter went further into their creative relationship. Mark and Wildfox have been working together for the better part of a decade and every time they collaborate it’s better than the last. “For me, for my photography, I’ve accumulated an arsenal of new ideas and ways to capture the girls,” explains Mark. Those ideas have found their way into the newest lookbook entitled “Gypsy.”
“Gypsy” finds the three female models on a trip into the wild. This isn’t the typical journey into the woods filled with tents and nylon, instead it’s a reimagined understanding of what it means to go native, get lost, and venture into nature. It’s a meditation on wilderness and grace. The shared vision of Mark and Wildfox includes feathered headdresses, vintage leather luggage, and handmade crafty crowns. Homemade wine is swigged from gallon bottles, while Turkish carpets make for a second ground cover under heavy knits and wool blankets. Like the real life nomadic gypsies that set up camp where their fancies are caught, the models lounge in the shade of their elective environment and play in the adjacent surroundings: a field of tall grass, a bright, clear river. It’s effortless, weightless, and full of everything Wildfox represents.
The snows and frosts are threatening to thaw before we know it, and it’s for that we have to be prepared. Wildfox and Mark are convincing an entire group of consumers that the inspiration behind these images is where they should look for the coming season. “A lot of the time the concepts keep getting more detailed,” Mark says. “[We’re] putting more into the production every time.” As they’re able to more fully follow the creative paths ahead of them, they can tell the story in a fuller way. That’s the heart of creative collaboration.
Mark Hunter and Wildfox Grow Together
Mark Hunter has shot 10 Wildfox campaigns over the past five years. That's a solid working relationship. Over that time, the photographer and clothing brand have developed a concrete trust. "We’ve definitely evolved together: them as a brand and me as a photographer," explains Mark. "And it’s been really nice to grow and sort of try to outdo ourselves each season." Trust engenders courage providing room for exploration and growth. It is a mutually beneficial relationship. They've gone from shooting standard campaigns in their shared hometown of LA to traveling internationally, instituting vibrant variation, and keeping their models fresh faced. These extra pieces add to “It just elevates the brand. It just makes everything more exciting.”
As the campaigns have gotten more sophisticated it reflects on Wildfox’s identity. At the same time, their more ambitious concepts have forced Mark to experiment and grow in ways that other photographers never expect to be tested. "I’ve gone into meetings to talk about shooting for other brands and one of their first questions is 'You’re not compositing all these girls' heads in Photoshop?'" He's not. Instead, he's able to get three perfect performances out of three girls, all at the same time. He’s not only working with the models in a surprising and constructive way, it’s the same with the brand. “The creatives and I, we can sort of read each others’ minds,” he says. “We know we’re getting the shots and just moving on. It lets us have a really good fluidity throughout the day.” The relationship not only allows for them to expand and explore, it creates a short form of communication that provides more space to work.
Both Wildfox and Mark are growing together. As they expand, they expand together. “I’ve accumulated an arsenal of new ideas to get greater depth,” says Mark. “ It’s not my first rodeo.” So far, Mark has shot 10 Wildfox campaigns, and there are even more on the way. They’re going bigger and bolder every time. Each step, each shoot, each campaign is greater than the last. Stay tuned.
Mark Hunter and Wildfox's Royal Romance
Bernstein & Andriulli new talent Mark Hunter captured an afternoon of bicycling, picnics, and sunbathing in San Marino's Huntington Botanical Gardens for Wildfox's latest campaign.
"The brand and I have great synergy because we've worked together for so long – on nearly ten image series," Hunter remarked. "I'm usually told, 'Here's an idea of what we'd like to get,' and I'm left to interpret it. I always pay attention to both the clothes and the energy to give the viewer the best experience possible, and the shoots are so over-the-top, fun, and girly that ... it makes me want to be a girl, too." Hunter used natural lighting and minimal equipment, which allowed him to roam freely and "go with the flow ... the models that Wildfox picks have a lot of personality – I discovered that one model on this project was also a ballerina and she did a few moves for the camera – so I chase them around and capture everything." He added that Wildfox's shoots are getting bigger and better as the years pass: "We continually try to outdo ourselves ... and it's cool to grow up with the brand."
For more than a decade, Hunter has been the definitive chronicler of alternative culture. He counts Microsoft, Sony Playstation, T Mobile, Yahoo!, Virgin Mobile, Publicis West, Adidas, and Capitol Records among his commercial clients; and his editorial imagery has appeared in Rolling Stone, Vice, Complex, i-D, L.A. Weekly, and Nylon. Hunter also has fashion campaigns for Calvin Klein, Helmut Lang, and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac to his name.
His much imitated website (and the first nightlife photo blog), The Cobrasnake, receives over 500,000 unique hits a month, and has led to collaborations with Colette x VANS, RVCA, and British footwear brand Irregular Choice. In the past year, Hunter traveled to 75 cities in fifteen countries to shoot an array of parties and events, and he is constantly searching for the latest trends and hottest fashions.