When Photography Gets Wild

Yes, we are wild about wildlife photography and every once in a while someone asks for an interview:

Reprint from The Maine Edge: When Photography Gets Wild February 11, 2014

Anita Mueller was an interior designer. Mark Picard earned a living custom painting motorcycles. The couple lived comfortable lives in working in Massachusetts. That was, until five years ago. Mueller and Picard both became so convinced that they could turn their hobbies into careers that they left their jobs in Massachusetts and moved to Millinocket, Maine.

They decided to become wildlife photographers.

“It’s a dirty job, but someone’s got to do it,” Picard says. Of course, the photographers were going on more than a hunch when they made the move. A calendar featuring pictures of a moose that Picard had photographed had sold ten thousand copies in Japan. Abercrombie and Fitch also bought a few of his images – 60, to be exact – to use in their clothing line.

“It was sort of a natural progression,” Picard says. He cited that he had a background in art, and already knew about composition from painting murals and scenes on motorcycles.

Today, their work is sold at more than 20 locations throughout Maine. Picard has become internationally published, and was named the 2012 Maine Sportsman Artist of the Year. The United States Postal Service has used one of his images on a Maine stamp. His images range from landscapes to Maine’s wildlife, including moose and bears. You can view them by visiting markpicard.com.

Anita Mueller manages the gallery. She also helps coordinate and run the North Maine Woods Photography Workshop series, including a workshop exclusively for women.

According to Picard, they have workshops coming up in June, as well as September and October. He says that the workshops have been popular, drawing people from as far away as New Zealand. He stated that people have even come back to attend the workshop a second time.

Of course the job isn’t always a walk in the park. Picard says that he uses all natural lighting, relying on the sun to give him the best possible exposures.

“It takes patience and time,” says Picard.

“I can’t even begin to remotely light Mt. Katahdin,” Picard says. He says that animals like moose are also challenging, because he is so far away from them when he shoots them.

“Anything is hard. I could go out and shoot something ten times and not even get something that I remotely like,” says Picard.

So what is a typical day like for a wildlife photographer? Picard says that it varies. Some days, he heads out to shoot early in the morning, only to come back with nothing of value at the end of the day. On other days, he prints dozens of his own images to keep up with inventory. He says like most business owners, he works beyond what is considered full time.

“I don’t want people to think about the guy behind the camera,” Picard says. “I want them to say, ‘Isn’t that moose or particular wild subject beautiful?’”

It’s safe to say that people are doing just that.