Arriving in Puerto Vallarta by sea over a decade ago brought photographer Mark Callanan to a new phase in his life. “In looking for a place to develop my film, I came across John Youden’s magazine, “Yates y Villas.” He saw my work, which was exactly what he was looking for on a piece he had planned, and I ended up staying, rather than heading back to Australia when the season was over.”
“Actually, it was on that trip getting to know the world on a sailboat that I got my first Nikon set-up in Singapore, the optical capital at that time.” As he developed his skills, he strived not only to improve his own standards but also to expand local standards in Vallarta.
Despite the emergence of digital photography, Callanan continues to work with 35mm and wide-format film. “People recognize quality and they’re willing to pay for it. Everyone has a camera and is a photographer these days, so we’re constantly barraged by images. I just keep striving to be creative and to visualize the final use of each shot. I’m very happy to continue with film while the digital world is still in its adolescence.” Nevertheless, “The web has changed the way I present my work. It’s all digitized for my website, callananphoto.com, where I sell my images. The whole world realizes that it’s the image that’s important, the image that sells.”
His images were featured recently in a slide-music-poetry show that wowed crowds at Villa Premiere Hotel & Spa, Four Seasons Punta Mita and Biblioteca de los Mangos. A series of Callanan’s slides was projected on a screen while Raul Díaz played the piano, interrupted only by the melodic readings of translator Claudia Velo. A collection of his images was also published in 2002 under the title “Luz Y Color,” which continues to be available locally. In reference to his play with words, Callanan comments that, “Writing is a vehicle to present my photos.” Since pictures speak louder, his pen is no longer the focus, although he still enjoys writing.