Q&A: Mark Sommerfeld


Have you recently been living by any life philosophy? Set one alarm, press snooze once. What will baffle future generations about our day and age? Donald J, systematic oppression, inequality. Are you aware of any conspiracies? Simulation Hypothesis, does this count?…it’s a good fun mindfuck wormhole. What is it that interests you about photography? Its ability to often communicate the unsayable. What is the worst thing about city life? Wondering which costs are justifiable. What part of the planet would you like to explore? Northwestern British Columbia. What do you think is the most plausible of the supernatural? ESP. If you had to align yourself with a leader in history, who would it be? David Suzuki. Pick a field of science to be an expert within. Botany. What moment have you most wished you’d had a camera when you hadn’t? First/only time I saw the Northern Lights. Choose a job you would be willing to do for free on the side. Surf instructor. Describe the most important photo you’ve seen. Lately, the photo is a black boy’s (eyes open) hands wrapped around a white boy’s (eyes closed) head, noses kissing. The context isn’t certain but there are contextual hints within other photographs in the series that hint at precarious and/or hard and fast living. It, to me, looks like a moment of quiet release and sanctuary.

How often do you take other people’s advice? Too often and not enough, it goes in waves. Describe a personal hell. Perpetual regret. Which living person do you most admire? Fran Lebowitz. On what occasion do you lie? When I’ve just finished eating a big meal and someone hands me a plate of fresh-baked cookies and asks if I’m hungry. What was the last crime you witnessed? Andrew McGill drove through 2 red lights in the space of 5 minutes, yesterday. What is the best way to educate yourself? Trying. What is the next book you want to read? No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein. Ultimate camera? The nearest one, maybe waterproof. Most used camera? Mamiya 7/iPhone. What object do you want? Head scalp massager. What object do you need? Bottomless cup of coffee. How would you explain the internet to someone from the 1950’s? Are you satisfied with your level of physical strength? Generally yes, but, in an apocalyptic scenario I’d likely be disappointed by my feebleness. Describe a cheap thrill. Riding a bike in the rain. Pick an historic moment from the last hundred years to bring a camera to. In the cabin with Charles Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic. Are impulses more important than consequences? Yes. Which talent would you most like to have? What is your plan for the next 24 hours? I’m headed to buy a Pocket Wizard from a stranger, then shooting, and I hope to bake cookies tonight.

Guided by the history and transformations of water and geology, Eighty-One Fifty-Five is a poetic and topical survey of the connection between two locations 8155 km apart. Disparate and remote, these locations form an unlikely relationship that transcends time and place.

Mark Sommerfeld (b. 1985, Waterloo, ON) is a self-taught photographer based in Toronto. His work looks at the synchronicity and poetry of disparate locations and objects. He was named a 2017 Magenta Foundation Flash Forward winner and has shown work in Canada and the USA in the last year, including commissions for private and public collections. To see more of Mark Sommerfeld’s work visit — Website / Instagram.