January 5, 2022
Mark Hardy Spotlight
Here at Grantley, we’re particularly proud of the way we showcase our clients’ homes. This month we speak with one of the people behind our marketing photos and videos, award-winning architectural and interiors photographer and videographer, Mark Hardy.
How did you become a photographer?
It wasn’t always my plan. I went to ACM (The Academy of Contemporary Music) in Guildford to study music production initially. I loved music but I found I preferred designing graphics and websites for various music groups there. So, I went to Winchester School of Art to do an art foundation course specialising in graphics. While I was there, one of my tutors saw a photo I had taken for a project and basically told me that I should do photography. I didn’t have (and couldn’t afford) any equipment though, so he gave me some film, photography paper each week and use of the dark room 24 hours a day for the year and I just went for it. I ended up getting a distinction. I later studied for a degree in photography as a mature student at Portsmouth University.
Why did you decide to specialise in interiors and architectural photography?
Quite by accident in all honesty. I was doing portrait and wedding photography when a photographer in Guildford appointed me to do some work for his estate agent clients photographing some houses for sale from 1 bedroom flats to the exclusive St George’s Hill estate in Weybridge, which really threw me in the deep end. I later helped set up an agency specialising in property photography but now work on my own doing both interior and architectural photography and videography.
What’s your USP?
I used to work for a portrait photography company. Studio portraits can become quite monotonous so there was a lot of pressure to ensure that every single shoot was different. It was pretty hardcore, but it did force me to be creative and think outside the box, which is something I am known for now. The style of wedding photography I did was also less portraiture and more lifestyle-focused in order to tell the story of the day. This translates well to selling houses, as you’re building a storyboard of the lifestyle that each home represents. My signature technique is giving the appearance of something moving in what is actually a still photo. I like experimenting with movement in photography and the possibilities with advances in digital of bringing an image to life, for example steam rising out of a coffee cup. It’s always important to keep on challenging myself – I’d much rather innovate than imitate.
Have you always done video too?
No, but because I studied at ACM and part of my course was music production, I had a lot of the sound engineering skills that are helpful when producing and editing video. I also did some work experience with a BBC South cameraman while studying and he taught me a lot.Video wasn’t as big a decade ago but over the past five or so years it’s being used more and more and in the right way rather than just for the sake of it.
Have you photographed any particular houses of note or celebrity houses?
Lots but I can’t really name them! One of the challenges of my job is to really understand the lives of the people who live at the property that I’m photographing (perhaps they are an artist or a songwriter for example) and how their house might lend itself to that particular lifestyle. Depicting that in photos or video is what helps potential buyers picture themselves there too. But at the end of the day, it’s about the house, not the person who lives there. One of the reasons I like working with Grantley so much is that their houses are really quite unique, they usually have lots of history and therefore plenty of stories to tell!
Who do you gain inspiration from or think might be inspirational to our clients and readers?
For kitchen inspiration, I tend to turn to Instagram as there are so many great accounts to draw from. Oliver Pohlmann, Ar Her Kuo, Barry Grossman and Oliver Purvis are other architectural photographers I particularly admire.