Friday, July 22, 2011

Interview with Photographer Marc Thyssen

Photographers are a major part of this industry. Being a part of magazines and paysites are some of the ways of creating your own brand. Just training and competing isn't enough to be a top name in this industry. The photographers can make a major difference in how your career pans out.

Marc Thyssen is quickly becoming one of the top photographers in the business today. His huge FitHeat project during last year's Olympia was unbelievable in nay aspects. Next weekend, during the NPC USAs, he plans to take it up a notch with Fitness Supermodel Weekend at the Moorea Beach Pool at Mandalay Bay. It's a two-day event (Saturday July 30th and Saturday July 31th) with some of the biggest names in the business, including Adela Garcia, Nicole Wilkins, Felicia Romero, and Christine Pomponio-Pate, among others (Talent subject to change, of course). Marc was gracious enough to take time out of his busy prep for this event to conduct an interview with FitGems.

Marc Thyssen himself
Photo credit: Steve Beyer Productions

FitGems Nation: May you begin by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Marc Thyssen: I love travel and have been to 37 countries, visited the majority on my own too. Exotic places, people, food and culture inspire me. As does embracing diversity in every form, which comes from my parents as my mother was born in Madras, India & my father in the South of Holland. Music has been very important to me as my work as a DJ has enabled me to live & travel around the world. Photography also is now playing an important role for me especially in the USA.

FitGems: You’re from Austraila. How did you you find your way to the United States?
Marc: Had visited a few times for holidays but only in 2007 did I take on the challenge to move over to Vegas and try my hand at making a business and life here. With no work organized, no family here or friends it wasn’t easy. But I’m not someone who gives up easily & I think the USA is the place to make your mark in this world in many fields especially mine. America is such an inspiring place.

FitGems: How did you get into photography in the first place?
Marc: My love for travel first inspired me to take photos since my first trip to Europe at 19. My Dutch born father’s love for travel inspired me wanting to travel from a early age. With time I had the confidence and courage to change focus from landscape to focus on people as subjects.

FitGems: How did you get interested in FITNESS photography?
Marc: I had my first Fitness photo shoots with a couple of models, Christina Lindley & Elaine Seth in Miami back in 2003. From my work and the models compliments on it, I knew that it was an area I had a talent for. I remember shooting film back then and using a totally manual camera too.

FitGems: How long have you been in photography?
Marc: Professionally I’ve been shooting since those first shoots in Miami in 2003, so 8 years. But shooting in total for over 15 years. I’ve only been living in the USA since 2007, so 4 years in the USA.

FitGems: In your honest opinion, what’s the most satisfying thing about being a photographer?
Marc: Making people smile. Creating a work of art with a bare minimum of computer manipulation. Too many photographers go to far these days and their subjects look little like the models they shot. That’s not my style, I look to Master Photographers for inspiration and even a guy like David LaChapelle who used to heavily edit his images & has used much less Photoshop in recent years. Australian Photographer Russell James is an inspiring guy, for his work, style and more.

FitGems: Last year during the 2010 Olympia weekend, you hosted a Superstar event of epic proportions with some of the biggest names in the industry (Monica Brant, Christine Pomponio-Pate, Heather Mae French, Myriam Capes, Mindi O’Brien, Krissy Chin, only to name a few) called FitHeat. How in the world were you able to pull off such a major event, and what inspired you to create FitHeat?
Marc: It wasn’t easy. But I know that Vegas is the place to provide a crossover market for the Fitness arena. Here in Vegas people, regular people live in the gym to look great at a pool. So why not capitalize on that and show them athletes at a pool, who are at the top of the sport in the World! Athletes that can inspire all of us.

FitGems: With the success of FitHeat 2010, will we see a repeat of FitHeat during this year’s Olympia?
Marc: Yes, Planet Muscle will again be partner on it too.

Christine Pomponio-Pate (left) and Monica Brant (right) at 2010 FitHeat event. Christine is scheduled to be part of next weekend's Fitness Supermodel Weekend (Photo credit: GUIDENG)

FitGems: Next weekend (during the NPC USAs in Las Vegas), you are hosting a Fitness Supermodel WEEKEND, with a major line-up that includes NINE competitors from past/present Olympias! For those attending, what can people expect from this event?
Marc: It will be again be at Moorea beach, like last years FitHeat, however the pace will be more relaxed with shooting over two days. Expect more interaction between the athletes and the crowd, giveaways and autograph signings. This event will also be filmed for DVD and it will be a surprise where the photos will be featured. Cant reveal that yet! Last years FitHeat was too hectic for me, I was too busy to really enjoy it!

FitGems: From everyone you’ve photographed, who has been your absolute favorite competitor/model to shoot with thus far in your career?
Marc: Hard for me to pick an absolute favorite but shooting Christine Pomponio, at FitHeat last year then again later in the evening one on one was a lot of fun & something I had been looking forward to for a long time. And that Christine drove all the way down just for it & didn’t compete in 2010 but looked like she should’ve been on the Olympia stage when we shot is a credit to her.

FitGems: How important do you feel is social media in the fitness industry, from a photographer’s standpoint?
Marc: Very important, unless you are already a Master Photographer like Annie Leibovitz and have a job shooting for Vanity fair, Nat Geo, SI and the like. For us mere mortals it’s a great way to get out there and get our work seen by many people. I always dreamed of shooting for Nat Geo but then again I am my own boss and I shoot the most beautiful women in the World. Not so bad hey?

FitGems: In addition to photography, you also have a knack for being a DJ. How did that come up?
Marc: Was my first part time job in High school and something I stuck with through completing college and studying abroad in London when I was 24. Not many 24 year olds are blessed enough to study in London whilst DJing to support themselves after already DJing Spain for 2 months the same year. Little wonder I kept to DJing for years afterwards and then onto running nightclubs in Melbourne, Australia after completing my Business degree. But when I hit 30 I knew I wanted something else to be my primary focus, and voila, Photography. And now, event planning also :)

FitGems: What advice would you give to others that would like to do photography one day?
Marc: Practice, shoot nature & still life until you are confident with your camera in manual mode, Then find your niche, network and strive for what you dream and believe will make you most happy in Photography.

FitGems: How can people contact you for more about your work (Twitter, email, website, Facebook, etc.)?
Marc: (Official Website) (Twitter) (Facebook)

For more about Marc's Fitness Supermodel Weekend, you can check out this link on Facebook. Again, thank you Marc for taking the time to do an interview with us!

No comments: