Marc Hom Finds Something New for Tatler
When Marc Hom approaches a new subject, he tries to discover something new. When he shot Jessica Brown Findlay, the celebrated actress from Downton Abbey, for the cover of Tatler he wanted to help her break away from the character her fans have grown to love. “You don’t want to see her the way she’s been seen for a long, long time,” he says. “I want to portray the beautiful, sexy woman that she is.” And truly, this is a departure. Even though her character on the BBC smash hit was a rule breaker (she wore pants!), Jessica lives in a different time and has the freedom to express herself more acutely. “I’ve always been a fan of sensuality and women looking beautiful but keeping the elegance,” Marc says.
That’s sort of Marc’s MO. He’s interested in pulling out what’s already inside the person, rather than trying to stencil something on top of them. That offers a different challenge to every subject. Even a well-versed TV star, like Jessica Brown Findlay, must get used to sitting in front of a photographer’s camera. “It’s a different animal being in front of a moving camera and being in front of a still camera,” Marc explains. “It takes work. It’s really about getting the person in front of you to relax.” As exposing and intimate a performance like Jessica’s can be, it comes from behind a costume, with lines well written. Posing for a still camera is a straight representation of the subject, captured in the vacuum of expectation. It can be tricky.
It’s not only tricky to get an intimate look at a fresh face, Marc’s got to make himself happy with what he shoots. He’s a hard man to please. “You have to excite yourself, trying to evolve with them,” he says. “The biggest challenge is doing something you’re proud of yourself, but also that the person you’re photographing really loves. If you hit both those notes at once you cannot do much better.”
Since the industry has been moving to digital over the last decade, Marc has had to leave a lot of the black and white work behind. He loves shooting black and white, and that expertise has translated itself into his work with color. That’s why his images are so intense. Maintaining a warm skin tone, Marc loves rich blues and greens, and splashes them across his images, dancing off the deep contrasts. His blacks aren’t black, but rather the most intense version of color. It’s hyperrealism, like it’s been distilled and concentrated. That look is a through line over his entire work. And always has been.
As of this week, Marc Hom is now being represented by Bernstein & Andriulli. His entire portfolio can be seen here.