Spotlight On: Mark Clennon

A conversation with Mark Clennon as he uses photography to document the African diaspora.

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Our Portfolio Spotlight series takes a closer look at the talented people using Format websites to showcase their work. This week, we chat with photographer Mark Clennon via email.

New York-based photographer Mark Clennon chronicles stories from the African diaspora with poignant portraits while sharing own journey via his candid and heartfelt blog.

Clennon’s site uses magazine inspired theme Coral’s horizontal layout to showcase his stunning portraits. The theme also features animated transitions, adaptive backgrounds to frame colors pulled from each image, and nested navigation.



Where are you based and what do you usually shoot?

I’m based in Harlem, New York City and my main focus is to photograph people. I take particular interest and documenting and capturing the stories of humans of the African diaspora—put shortly, black people. I feel as though it is my responsibility to provide a wide scope of what it means to be a black person in this era.

How did you first get into photography?

I started to take an interest in photography during the rise of Instagram. I began shooting with my iPhone and eventually received a Canon Rebel starter camera. I started my journey for simple reasons: I just wanted to make great photos. Once I got the basics down and my love for the craft grew, I realized that I wanted to create something larger than myself. I then became more intentional about the images I was creating. Since then, I ’ve been working daily to educate myself on the craft.

What camera do you shoot with?

When I shoot digital I use my Canon 5D Mark 3. When I shoot film, I usually shoot with my Mamiya 645 AF.

Is there a particular project you’ve worked on that stands out for you?

A favorite project of mine is Heavy is the Heart(s). It explores the other side of love, the intentional compassion that is required in the hardest parts of a committed relationship—the death of a loved one.

How do you use your website to support your photography?

My website is home base for me. If Instagram is my business card, my website is the front door to my business. There are no gimmicks or algorithms on my website, and I can showcase the work that is most important to me. It’s critical for me to show what I’m about in a concise, beautiful way online.

What are you working on right now?

Right now I’m working on laying a foundation in early 2019 to dedicate the entire year on personal work. My goal is to release a zine and have my work shown in a gallery.

Name two photographers we should be following.

Two amazing photographers that are black women are Deun Ivory and Dana Scruggs.


Think your Format portfolio should be featured in our Portfolio Spotlight series? Send us a link to be considered.

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