Q&A with Photographer Paul Markow

Paul Markow photographed all 25 of our favorite restaurants for our April issue of Arizona Highways. And because we wanted to learn a little more about Paul (including his dining habits), we asked our own photo intern, ASU student Tim Guseynov, to stop by his Phoenix studio for a short Q&A—and of course, a photo shoot.

What is your favorite restaurant?
It’s really hard to pick one. I like Matt’s Big Breakfast because it’s local. I’ve always wanted to go there and they served me a great burger. El Charro in Tucson had this special authenticity about it and I just loved they way it felt and looked. Rod’s Steakhouse in Williams brought back warm childhood memories. Liberty Market is also on my list because it is such a charming place.

How did you get involved in photography?
My dad was a photographer. When I was a baby, my mom would put me in the crib while he would hang these blankets on the windows so that he could print photos. I pretty much fell asleep to my dad’s amber safe lights.

All right, then when did you decide to make a career out of photography?
I never thought that photography would become my career. My dad offered me a job as his assistant after I graduated from ASU with a business management degree. I mostly did the stuff no one else wanted to do until I worked my way up the food chain and was finally allowed to take photos.

What are your favorite things to shoot?
I honestly love shooting everything. For me, it’s more about the actual process than the photos. I enjoy shooting very simplistic stuff, as well as the big budget shoots where I orchestrate 20 people. Even head shots can be fun.

Digital vs. film?
Digital photography allows you to produce quality images at nearly no expense and instantaneous speed. But there is a certain kind of relationship you have with film that isn’t there with digital. Film is tactile, and there is a mystery about it because you don’t know how the images will turn out until they are developed. Now that romance is gone.

What is the most important quality a good photographer must possess?
Landscape photographers need patience, while people photographers must have a good personality and be able to put their subjects at ease. Drive and work ethic are also very important.

Is there anything that you’ve always wanted to shoot, but haven’t yet shot?
I’ve literally shot everything from major campaigns, to national billboards, to magazine covers and celebrities. But I would do it all over again.

Any advice for beginning photographers?
As the photo industry is getting more and more competitive, you must have a strong drive and be able to offer something different from everyone else. There is no shortcut to success. Learn from your mistakes, so that you never repeat them. If you make enough, you’ll actually look smart.

About Tim Guseynov: “Tim is an interesting soul,” says Arizona Highways Photo Editor Jeff Kida. And no wonder. Originally from Russia, Tim quickly immersed himself in the culture and his craft. Tim is a senior at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU where he is set to graduate later this month. From there, well, Tim says he plans to see where life takes him.

One thing’s for sure: he’ll continue to take a lot of photos.


Filed under In YOUR Words, Photography, Q&A

2 responses to “Q&A with Photographer Paul Markow

  1. Joey Cimino

    Was in a restaurant and saw the most provocative photo of a young lady in red high heels. It also credited Abby Brown Graphic Any chase to buy a copy of it ?? Joey Cimino 315.430.0338 anytime jacimino@jaciminofoodbrokers.com

  2. Pingback: Photographer Paul Markow on Kodak | Arizona Highways

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