Speaking on the project back at his graduate show, Cathexis, in July 2014, Mark said:
“I knew for this project that I wanted to go abroad to shoot it. I was looking around online for volunteering opportunities and I found this place. It’s called the Kathputli colony and it’s the world’s largest concentration of street performers who all live in a slum in Delhi. In exchange for teaching English and basic admin work, I got two guides to take me around the slum for a month and introduce me to all of these people. Kathputli is actually Indian for puppet, so it’s literally the puppet colony.
Don’t get me wrong, these people are really good. They all perform in 5-star hotels and that’s how they make their money. This guy actually performed in front of the first Indian Prime Minister. All of these shots were taken inside people’s homes.”
On Mark’s work, Huck said: “British portrait photographer Mark Leaver has an eye for bringing hidden communities and overlooked subcultures to light in a respectful way, as he did with his acclaimed facial tattoos series.”
Mark’s projects are chosen based on his own interests, “Personally I choose projects based on myself (i.e. my likes and interests) — personal projects naturally reflect yourself, the way you shoot them should allow the viewer to understand your viewpoint on the subject. The great thing about Uni is that you can essentially shoot what you want, this opportunity should be taken advantage of! Also with my editorial work i followed the news quite closely, topical things in the news always good projects in the eyes of publishers!”
Currently travelling around Australia and shooting for personal project, Mark is hoping to head to London on his return and work assisting photographers he met throughout his time on Commercial Photography. On his course, Mark said: “AUB was the three best years of my life. In first year it’s impossible to guess where your work will be by the time you graduate, I thought I’d still use things I shot before I went to uni in my portfolio, turns out everything in my portfolio was shot in and after my third year!
The uni allowed me the space to develop my own style of imagery in an independent way, with feedback and input from tutors. After taking the Commercial Photography degree at AUB, I feel pretty confident and ‘in the know’ about how to continue and develop personal practice as well as finding a relevant job.”