Anyone familiar with the Exposure section of Outside will instantly recognize the name Mark Fisher. The 36-year-old has earned a reputation as one of the best skiing and climbing photographers around. Photo District News added him to their 2012 list of photographers to watch, called the PDN 30. I called him to talk about his classic black and white ski images, but first wanted to learn a bit more about his background.
Fisher has taken a lot of pictures in a lot of wild places, a hobby that started at a young age. He took his first picture at the age of eight or nine in Dubai, where his father worked as a civil engineer. As a sophomore in high school, he got hooked on the craft when he took a photography class with an inspiring teacher named Jeff Grimm. In college at the University of Wisconsin, even though he studied German, international relations, and environmental studies, he always took time out for photos. “I was really into climbing, skiing, and mountaineering, “ he says. “So I would be traveling and taking all of those photos doing adventures with friends.”
Not long after school, he landed a job in Germany with a commercial photographer named Ramesh Amruth. Though Amruth exposed Fisher to studio work and the more commercial side of the craft—fashion, advertising, still life—he also planted a seed. “He was the first person that told me, Mark, I think you’d make a really good photographer. You’re good with people,” says Fisher. “And that year was the first time it sort of started to sink in: Oh wow, maybe I could make this a career.”
But to do that, he had to leave Germany and start shooting those things he loved most.