Mark Trinham on Photography
Photography is another field that Mark Trinham is passionate about. He started out as a teenager with a Ricoh SLR film camera—of course, all cameras used film then, this was around 1985. He even set up his own dark room on the family farm in an old fruit cool. The dark room process fascinated him and he began digging up, developing, and printing old family negatives that had been hidden for decades in trunks and drawers.
He even has his grandfather’s camera.
These days he uses a Pentax digital SLR. For lenses he uses anything from a wide angle ten millimetre to a 500 millimetre telephoto lens. Equipment makes a difference, as he’s discovered. He had an opportunity to attend a workshop taught by Steve Parish, a photographer whose work appears in every post office and newsagency in the country. The biggest lesson from that workshop? That high-level photographers use high-level equipment that come with an extremely high-level price—and that has everything to do with their impressive pictures. Not that Steve Parish isn’t also extremely talented, of course.
Mark also appreciated the opportunity to hone his skills and to talk business at the workshop—and it was good to get the sense that he was on the right track as a photographer.
These days, Mark mostly uses his camera for wildlife and landscape photography. He tries to capture his own memories and to record reference images for use in his painting and sculpture. He loves to share his photography but has no immediate plans to sell pictures. He used to—he has done shows of his black-and-white photography in the past but found it a difficult medium to sell. Fortunately, he can share some of his images online.
He admits he may do a book of his photographic work at some point in the future.
Mark Trinham on Nature
The natural world is important to Mark Trinham and not just as a source of artistic inspiration—though it certainly is that, as virtually all of his work has an environmental theme. Most of his projects also have an environmental education component and he is an accomplished naturalist. But beyond that, Mark has a long history—and has had me real successes–as an environmental activist.
Back when was living in Melbourne, in the 1980’s, he got involved with the Melbourne Rainforest Action Group, which became, he says, a whole new family, a group of like-minded people who shared his passion for saving or protecting the environment. He remembers swimming out with other members to get in front of timber ships that were bringing rainforest timber in from Malaya, from Borneo. The group also raised awareness and helped organise and promote the boycott of rainforest timber—a boycott which proved effective. Much work remains to be done, but Australian demand for rainforest-grown wood has diminished, slowing the pace of deforestation.
The group has, for the most part, dispersed, as the members struck out on their own separate businesses and projects, but they still get together to collaborate on the occasional campaign.
In the early 1990’s, Mark moved to Torquay and got involved with SANE (Surfers Appreciating the Natural Environment), doing revegetation and weeding in the Bells Beach area. That work led to other projects with other groups, such as Bay Rescue, Friends of the Earth, Jan Juc Coast Action, Friends of Jan Juk Creek, and Torquay Landcare. The list goes on.
Mark’s career as both a graphic designer and a fine artist grew out of his work as an activist when these environmental groups became his clients. For them, he created logos, posters, and other related art, and he built his reputation as a designer within the world of non-profits, not in mainstream advertising. And yet he has always done practical, on-the-ground work for these organisations as well, involving himself directly in their political and educational work.
It is a line of work he plans to continue into the future as long as he can.