Scott Markewitz

by P. Berberian July 2, 2018

Scott Markewitz

Scott Markewitz is an outdoor photographer who travels the globe in search of action and adventure. His images have appeared in advertising and promotional campaigns for many outdoor and consumer brands, including Adobe, HP, Tag Heuer, J Crew and more. Markewitz is also an avid skiier and is the recipient of Ski Utah’s Excellence in Journalism Award. His images have also received awards from APA, PDN, The International Pano Awards, and The Spider Awards.

He lives with his wife, Veronique, and their son, Julien, in Salt Lake City, Utah and Provence, France.

PB: What made you first decide you were going to be a photographer?

SM: Before becoming a photographer, I was a professional skier and skied in front of the cameras of many of the top photographers at the time. I always had an interest in photography and learned a lot by watching photographers in action, so I decided to buy a good camera and see what I could do with it. I went out and shot with some local pro skiers at the end of the season and submitted my favorite shots to Powder Magazine. That summer I went to Europe to coach a ski camp, and when I came back I walked into a magazine shop and saw one of my photos on the cover. I had to do a double take, but seeing my first published photo on the cover of Powder was definitely a sign that this was something I should pursue.

PB: Is there a photograph you loved as a kid or an event that pushed you into being a photographer?

SM: I was obsessed with skiing as a kid, and the only thing I wanted to do in life was ski. Naturally, I spent a lot of time looking at ski magazines, so the images that stick out for me are some of the classic ski images of the time. This obsession with skiing definitely influenced my vision and the direction I took with my photography.

PB: Do you do anything before a shoot to prepare yourself?

SM: The prep for every shoot is different, depending on the client’s needs and scope of the project. Sometimes it’s just a matter of charging the camera’s batteries, loading my backpack and going out into the mountains with a group of athletes for the day. Other shoots require more preparation—not only organizing gear but also preparing mentally and developing a vision for the shoot. It’s a lot like getting ready for a race. You have to thoroughly study a brief and visualize the shoot and setups before it happens. Doing so produces much better results.

PB: What is your favorite set up to shoot with?

SM: My favorite camera is the Nikon D5, which I use for the vast majority of my work. There are a few lenses that I use the most, but the AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is probably my favorite. It’s fast, nimble and sharp, and I really like the compressed look and depth of field that you get with a telephoto lens

PB: Who are your greatest influences in the art world?

SM: I don’t follow the art world closely, so I don’t have strong influences there. But, I love music and listen to many different artists and genres, especially rock and jazz. Music and photography have a lot in common. A photograph is a composition of light, much like a song is a composition of sound. And when you get it right, a great image touches the viewer much like a beautiful piece of music.

PB:  What is your favorite photography quote?

SM: “There is no such thing as bad light.” I made that up.

PB: Who are your three favorite photographers?

SM: Mark Seliger. Mark’s portraits are so beautifully crafted. The concepts he develops around his subjects and his impeccable use of setting, light and color are unmatched.  Every time I see one of his images I’m blown away not only by the technical mastery but also by the intimate connection that he’s able to capture with his subjects.

Galen Rowell. When I first started shooting, Galen was the premier adventure photographer of the time. I loved the way he used light and clean, dramatic compositions to turn adventure and outdoor images into works of art. I read his books and really connected with his approach to photography and light, and have definitely taken many of his ideas to heart in my own work.

Sebastiao Salgado. His images are incredibly powerful and dramatic. I’m really drawn to his intense black and white images and the way his work captures a primal side of humanity and nature.

PB: If you were to do anything else for a living, what would it be?

SM: I’m really fortunate to be able to do what I love, and I can’t imagine doing anything else for a living. But, if I had to choose anything else, it would be something outdoors. Maybe a ski or bike coach, or a mountain guide… something like that.

PB: What is your favorite photo that you have taken?

SM: That’s a difficult question. I have quite a few favorite images—and the memories that go with them. One that always stands out is my shot of Dave Watson jumping over the Tour de France peloton on his mountain bike at the Col du Galibier in 2003. We planned the jump for months in advance and pulled it off completely under the radar. Even on the day of the race with hundreds of people around, no one besides our crew knew it was going to happen until Dave jumped on his bike and flew off the cliff. I’ve definitely shot better and more creative images, but this one will always stay with me because it was a once in a lifetime shot where everything had to line up perfectly, and I only had one chance to nail it.

PB: What is your favorite personal picture you have taken?

SM: My son is an accomplished mountain biker and it’s really fun to photograph him ride and watch him progress in the sport.  I have many favorite shots of him in action, but this one really stands out for me.

PB: What advice do you have for someone new to the business?

SM: Shoot subjects that you’re passionate about and work hard to develop your own style. Shoot a lot. Experiment. Don’t be afraid to try any ideas that come to mind. Even if they don’t work, you might learn something that you can use on another shoot. Be professional with everyone you work with. But, most of all, have fun, keep it light and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Check out more of Scott’s work on his website or his PhotoServe Portfolio