Beyond The Lens – Independent Massachusetts photographer Mark Painter is giving us the inside scoop on what’s going on in his world of photography. I got in touch with Painter at the beginning of March and asked him if he would like to do an interview, then after he agreed, I sent him questions to get the ball rolling. Now that I finally have all of his answers, I quickly pieced up this story to share for all of you to read. Enjoy the interview!
~*~*Beyond The Lens /w Mark Painter*~*~
Internet Hollywood: Welcome to the Internet Hollywood universe Mark! We have been friends online for a little while now and I never really interviewed you. It’s good that I could finally focus on writing some questions to send over now that I have some time. How is everything? Are you off to a great start for the new year?
Painter: 2017, for the most part, was a good year but not without its challenges. American Apparel went Chapter 11 and was bought by Canadian company Gildan. While they went through the transfer of ownership I was not able to keep my best off the rack items in stock due to the blanks becoming unavailable most of the year. I took it with stride and used it as an opportunity to work on my “re-fashion” designs focusing a little less on garment decoration and more towards up-cycling and repurposing new and old apparel, mostly tee shits but a lot of other fun items as well. Not a great year financially a real set back actually lol. But a great year for creativity and meeting new people and collaborations. The last quarter of 2017 was particularly difficult due to major home improvements(I work from a home studio) disrupting productions and a nasty red-eye virus that struck me in September that damaged my corneas and took 3 months to fully recover from. (a virus related to the common cold like pink eye but 100x worse) 2018 I’m very optimistic for.I just yesterday discovered a blanks supplier I buy wholesale American Apparel from has just been restocked and are offering drop ship direct from AA. so we put in an order and I’m waiting on a box of bodysuits, leggings, yoga pants, dresses, etc. Hopefully no more buying retail to keep the shop open! I’ve listed and relisted a bunch of items and the sales are picking up. I’d say the new year is off to a good start!
Internet Hollywood: I saw some amazing pictures of you with a whole bunch of beautiful models at the Open Runway 2017. How was the experience being around that kind of energy with so many talented people?
Painter: Thank you. That is actually my second year doing Boston Fashion Weeks Open Runway..(2016,2017) I’ve been fortunate to participate in some really great events since I started this apparel venture. “Open Ruway” is a great opportunity and I’d recommend any designer or garment decorator who has their shit somewhat together to submit an application. (showcases listed below)
Internet Hollywood: What is your main focus now that you are the beginning of the year?
Painter: The main focus for 2018 is to “POP UP” as much as I can. Maintain the E-commerce but try and present and sell the more custom “one-off” designs I’ve been focusing on recently at events and other IRL markets. Maybe start to think about offering my services as a tee shirt stylist to other brands and some fashion DIY instruction. Basically, maintain and fortify my main revenue streams while exploring new ones. I’m looking to take some folks on this year but not sure how I want to go about doing it quite yet. I’m not in a situation where I can just hire the best people but l have met so many great people this past year I think I’ll be able to offer enough incentives for some great collaborations that hopefully might grow into joint ventures or partnerships where we can grow together. I know I’m going to need help this year to advance the story of PainterProductions.
Internet Hollywood: Who are some of the people that you are interested in collaborating with?
Painter: Every week I reach out to someone new and follow up with anyone that has contacted me that showed interest, plus I keep in touch with past collaborations that I continue to trade with..some that I consider “sponsored”…honestly my “affiliate and sponsorship program” could use a little work. Every model I work with I create an individual discount code for my Etsy shop. The idea is that the models share their personal coupon code to their friends, fans, and followers. I can track what codes are being used and offer more sponsorship incentives from the revenue of the sales. Hasn’t really caught on yet. A work in progress for 2018 lol.
Internet Hollywood: What was the thought that started your journey as an independent photographer and who was there to support you along the way?
Painter: I’d like to thank all the folks that have supported and collaborated with me over the years. I wear a lot of hats and “Photographer” is just one of them. It would be great to just be able to afford a highly skilled competent photographer whenever I have a need for one but with my shoestring budget and DIY values it just makes sense to shoot my own work so I bought an old Canon Power Shot (point and shoot) from a friend and set to work journaling and cataloging my designs, prints, and experiences.
Internet Hollywood: What style of shooting do you feel you’re at your best when it comes to shooting models and what kind of camera do you often use?
Painter: My photography is pretty lo-fi I mostly go for that raw American Apparel, Uncle Terry style. I have a lot of respect for photographers that shoot glam and are photoshop wizards and enjoy collaboration with them but I also love raw pro-am looking images as well. I do like to play with natural light and of course get my best shots outdoors or by windows. The times where I’m stuck in my basement studio I make due with some compact flo and direct flash. I sell apparel on esty and I just need simple shots against a plain backdrop sometimes. I learned early on a tee shirt laying flat on a plain back round doesn’t sell very well and ladies apparel won’t sell at all unless it’s modeled. I try and test shoot every week. It’s a great opportunity for models looking for some experience and great for new and established models that want practice so anyone who wants to play dress up please hit me up! (email: email@example.com)
Internet Hollywood: What are some of the things you are currently working on now?
Painter: I’m currently working on new up-cycled designs with a batch of thrifted tees I picked up last month at Savers. Be sure to check out my new Instagram profile. Lots of new stuff coming soon!
Internet Hollywood: Thank you for the interview, Mark!
~*~*Thank you for reading*~*~
~*~*Credits & Links*~*~
Painter Productions: Website –
The first photo in this story was taken by Olga Photo.