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Overlooked Beauty: Photography by Mark Essner

A photograph of a warning sign by Mark EssnerIn-Secure

Photographer Mark Essner takes snapshots of the world around him, looking for moments of overlooked beauty in forgotten or disused locations. Mark spent part of his life living in Bermuda before returning to Waterloo, Ontario, where he now resides.


A photo of a decrepit building in New OrleansDesire


There’s a subtle undertone of urban exploration in many of Mark’s photographs. I rather appreciate this aesthetic – it also reminds me a bit of the photographs of urban explorer Matt Emmett. The way Mark chooses to showcase rusted an abandoned industrial equipment and buildings makes for an unusual but captivating photographic portfolio.


The front page of Mark Essner's photography websiteThe front page of Mark's art website


Mark especially seems to enjoy looking at industrial spaces. His series of photographs of firemen fighting a blaze in a Waterloo building captures an interesting tension between the visual interest of the event, and the painful or frightening emotions that would undoubtedly be attached to it. As Mark says in his artist’s statement, the images are intended to allow the viewer to see what he sees, translating the spark of photographic interest into something universal.  


A photo of a firetruck with light streaming through a smoke cloudGuardian

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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