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Sponsor Spotlight: Eye Photograph, LLC

Mark Ferrell Eye Photograph LLC 800 S Lawe St Appleton 54915 9208513374Mark Ferrell is a man of many hats. After college, he served in the Navy. He traveled with rock-and-roll bands and set up stage lighting. He worked for the Democratic party during the Obama administration. He was a photographic technician in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Now he has made Appleton, Wisconsin, his home.

Mark’s photography studio is in The Draw along the Fox River on Lawe Street, where a variery of artists, artisans and creative professionals work and collaborate. He mentions, “It’s a pretty cool place. We used to have events, concerts and recitals. Lawrence University Jazz students were given carte blanche to show up on a Friday evening and perform in the gallery during our Friday Happy Hour. Covid knocked all that out. We have to build that back better.”

He says that he was always drawn to photography. “It was my yoga when I was in high school and when I started selling my prints, it has been my journey since that time.”

Mark fervently believes that the art of photography can only truly be understood by learning how to develop film and print photos. He states, “The digitization of photography has made it so easy to make a photograph that now photographs have become disposable when in reality, they should be printed on paper or canvas. I believe that photographers should start creating by developing and printing from film. Before digital photography, we would take the picture and would never know what we had until we printed it.”

Mark continues,  “Now, people see an image. They press a button and see an image and no one is really trying to manipulate the light and dimension of their imates. They might save it or simply delete it. Most people don’t understand the photo editing process. A song writer can write a song and give it to a musician to perform. Does the musician really understand the songwriter’s vision for how the song is to be played?  Does the musician really have the same relationship that the songwriter has to the song? So, if someone brings their images to a Walgreens and Walgreens prints the photos, can the photographer really call those prints his or her own?”

After serving as a photographer in the Navy, Mark worked in New York and Chicago for color labs using the dye transfer process, the most advanced form of photographic color printing at the time. There, he created photographic images for iconic American photographers Jay Maisel and Ernst Hass, just to name a few. After relocating to LA for a time, he moved to San Francisco, where he participated in a project with Ansel Adams.

During all of these interactions, Mark was able to stand alongside iconic American photographers in the dark room; they instructed him exactly how they wanted their photographs printed. Mark believes that this direct involvement in the creative process makes photography an art form.

Mark and a group of photographers want to allow artists the ability to create photography in this way in the Fox Cities, and hope to form the Appleton Photographic Center. Their goal is to find a space that will allow artists access to a public black-and-white darkroom and computers for digital photography. It would provide space to create digital prints and a studio to learn lighting. It would also house a gallery.

This is not the only iron Mark Ferrell has in his photographic fire. In addition to volunteering his time with ESTHER’s Racial Justice Committee, Mark, along with John Adams and Leif Larson, have mentored more than 20 students since 2016. This mentoring collaboration emerged in preparation for the Take me to the River collective art show in Kaukauna. During that time, Mark was introduced to a group of high-school art students who later formed the Emerging Artists Collective ( The Trout Museum of Art is now this group’s fiscal agent.

Also included in the group of emerging artists are seven young photographers. Mark has mentored these artists despite not having an adequate place or proper equipment to instruct them. He states, “Once we get the Photographic Center together, it will be home to the Emerging Artists Collective. We will probably be working at both the Trout and the Photographic Center.” Once this place is open, Mark and his colleagues believe that more young artists will come to learn and use the facilities to make their own art.

“I want kids who have a passion for art to have a place where they can scratch that itch. This educational program should be free for all kids. The whole idea is for kids to group up in the environment of sustainable arts, and when they are older, they can teach others.”

If you would like to help create and fund this new creative workspace, Mark can be reached at

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