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(010400_12A-14A, West Hollywood, CA 2001)


For years I carried around a small Olympus point and shoot film camera. I liked it because it had good glass and made all the technical decisions easy. I loaded it with high-speed black and white (and sometimes color) film which allowed me to shoot inside and outdoors. I composed through the viewfinder or pointed in the general direction of whatever interested me.


I like to walk. In 2001, I was taking a walk when something caught my eye. It was a courtyard. I took a photo. Something about that image sensitized me to this subject matter. I shot commercial architecture professionally. Maybe there was something in the bygone era architectural details of these older buildings that resonated in my imagination. For the next couple of years, I walked around my neighborhood of West Hollywood and environs, visually recording residential courtyards and bungalow courts.



(023483-29A, West Hollywood, CA 2002)


Built between the early 1900s to the 1950s, courtyard apartment buildings were very popular, particularly around Hollywood and West Hollywood. Those, as well as bungalow courts, the one-story detached or semi-detached cottage type buildings also arranged around a communal courtyard and walkway, would serve an influx of people moving to California in pursuit of their dreams. Film and literature are full of characters born out of the minds of writers who lived in these places.


(141031_011-020-2, West Hollywood, CA 2014)


The shared green space provided an instant sense of community while enabling residents to enjoy the outdoors and the California weather. One can imagine the letters written – especially during the winter - to those back home marveling about the sunshine, the excitement of working on movie sets, and maybe seeing stars.


(018410_2, West Hollywood, CA 2001)


Later versions of these apartment buildings would often include swimming pools, a precursor for the next generation of ubiquitous LA dwellings, the dingbat.



(120427, West Hollywood, CA 2012)

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Updated: Aug 1


(965349_28A: First Day 1996)


My father took up residence in a senior care home in Florida in 1996. It was a big, but necessary, change to his lifestyle. I made this photograph during his first hours there. To this day, I wonder what was going through his mind at that moment. Was it the realization that this was going to be his last chapter?


At 80, I am now at a crossroads in my life. There is most certainly more behind me than ahead. I feel the need to organize a retrospective of a lifetime of work as well as introduce new images. Inspiration has not left me.

(960609.4_26: Orange County 1996)


I could feel an energy in the landscape that day and it may have been in the scale of that vista and the orchestrated movements of grass created by the wind. There is no end to the road.


The COVID-19 pandemic gave me time to re-examine my career in photography.

I looked at what I had done professionally – much of my assigned work was in architectural photography. And I also looked at my personal work, the captured moments of people, places, and things spanning decades. It was my creative life flashing before me.

Each image has a story to go with it. In the earlier work, the story could include the pre-digital technical aspect of making the image. The process may have used different tools – film, darkrooms, equipment. Working digitally with the same elements of light, composition, texture, the end result is the same – a photograph with the creative vision of the moment.

(220211_001: Jar of Preserved Peppers, 2022)


And that vision could be in something as mundane as a jar of preserved peppers which caught my eye while I was cat sitting for friends. This was taken with an iPhone. The light is from the refrigerator.

Fate stepped in January 2022 when I received a notice from my website host saying that they would be closing their business. I had just 3 months to find a new platform for my portfolio. With the help of James Gelinas, N2ITIVE WEB DESIGN, and Nancy Glowinski, Tadpole Salon, we were able to transfer and transform everything from the old site onto a new one. It is now a virtual gallery of my work, my stories, my life through many lenses.

I am proud to say the gallery is now open. Come visit and explore at www.joelmark.com. Read the stories, view the galleries, and check out the store where you can find timeless fine art photography prints. Subscribe to see the latest as images continue to be unearthed from the archive, and those that come from new inspirations.


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